Black Mold – Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz (CD)

Black Mold is the electronic side of Chad VanGaalen, a Canadian artist that has rapidly becoming a force up north. This 19-track album may seem to some to be similar to what Conor Oberst attempted to do with “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn”, but I feel that there has been much more work done in crafting this effort by VanGaalen. The disc itself starts out with “Metal Spider Webs”, a bass and string-lead track that moves into an Amelie-like composition. The twinkling sound of the instrumentation here is fun and hide an arrangement that is pretty damn special.

Nothing in the way of vocals are needed due to this arrangement, which contains a narrative as rich as any Tim Burton movie. The added infusion of more modern electronic elements to the track further expands this experience into one that is truly special. “Tetra Pack Heads” has a much more inorganic feel to it, with sequenced percussion and aural googahs aplenty; while those possessing of ADHD will be able to enjoy it, I feel that a number of focused listening are essential in properly understanding what VanGaalen is doing here. The music on “Tetra Pack Heads” swells and falls, while some of the aforementioned inclusions give a more wordly flair to the track. Taken together, I feel that the track speaks to the hustle and bustle present in a major metropolis, replete with all the neon, cars, and humans making their way around. “Wet Ferns” may just be the sleeper track on “Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz” because of the funky synthesizer line that is laid down.

What seems like an unlikely dance track will ensnare listeners easily, despite the relatively small amount of things happening vis-à-vis the other tracks on the album. Even with a total of nineteen cuts on the album, I feel that Black Mold / VanGaalen is able to keep a solid momentum. Take the penultimate track “Swimming For Food”, for example; while it takes on a number of different tacks and approaches first used earlier on the album, I feel that there is more than enough in the way of experimentation and differentiation to keep listeners sated until the final track, “Finally someone invented a teleporter!” begins.

Top Tracks: Metal Spider Webs, Smoking Rat Shit

Rating: 7.4/10

Black Mold – Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz / 2009 Flemish Eye / 19 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/blackmoldmusic / http://www.flemisheye.com

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