If you grew up in the time of analog radio, you’ll remember those long, late night road trips caught in a dead zone filled with static and incoherent off-air messages interspersed between frequencies. You knew if you searched long enough, you’d find some cheesy country ballad or an apocryphal backwoods broadcast discussing the importance of metallic hats the Devil’s frequency can’t penetrate. Don L’Orange’s experimental album release on VidKid Tapes brought me right back to that place.
Explaining this album away in an attempt to analyze its worth would be a nightmare. I can’t listen to it without being thrust into a state of unease. Throughout the seamless soundscape, you’re enamoured with a frantic struggle in search for the proper frequency that never quite comes in full.
Side B nearly gets you there with an increased use of percussion that gives a sense that you’ve found what you’ve been searching for, but the frequency coaster continues as the sound plunges into a low-end synth before the percussion once again takes hold in the final track.
There’s no romanticized sense of wonder that keeps you awestruck the whole way through. Some of the tracks are genuinely hard to listen to from start to finish. But the goal of an experimental album is to put out tunes that spark something in the listener, and Don L’Orange has certainly accomplished that.
Whether the entire analog frequency spectrum that has been fazed out with modern digitization has decided to take the form of Don L’Orange to remind us all of what we’ve given up, is yet to be seen.