Fragments of a Hologram Rose
One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of a day spent in a cabin in the mountains above Vancouver would probably be an ear-splitting silence, scarcely interrupted by little more than occasional gusts blowing against towering snow-burdened pine trees. Tassels, the project of bedroom soundscape artist Sean Orr, takes a very different approach, however, with his new conceptual album, A Higher Lunacy, which is based on a poem about life in the cabin in the North Shore Mountains during the dead of winter . Instead of indulging in clean air and tranquility, Tassels aims for deep psychedelic synthscapes tied together with glitchy beats.
The opener, “First We Need to Make a Fire,” sets the mood, and a rather bleak one, with its slowly developing, fuzz-filled melodies and sparse beats. The album then goes into a set of less despairing tracks, with a highlight being the subtle, dreamy “The Baby.” Around the time that the trippy, looped chanting of “The Senses” kicks in, you begin to gather that this adventure is not your idyllic nature retreat. The rest of the album travels deeper down into bleak and heavy ambience, with dark oscillating bass lines and dispersed minimalist drum machines creating something that wouldn’t seem too out of place in a mind-bending Gaspar Noé film. The album closes with what sounds like a torturously auto-tuned wolf howling above overly-dramatic, gloomy Krautrock synths. Of A Higher Lunacy I can only ask, “how could something as simple as a day at the cabin go so horribly wrong?”