[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]
Alan “DrAlien” Smith has worked for over fifteen years behind the mixing and mastering desks of his Bergerk! Studio in Perth, Australia, cooperating with many bands in the field of post rock, doom, sludge and shoegaze. This time he performs everything in first person and delivers his first solo album, four instrumental tracks for twenty minutes of entrancing weirdness. The songs are built on slow riffs of distorted, pitched and deeply effected bass guitar and that gives a heavy, odd sound to the album. It’s in some way evident that Smith is first of all a technician, and here he displays all his skills in crafting atmospheric sounds, shaping complex layers of effects and putting on tons of noise. The bass is what impresses the most: with vowel-like filters (“Connective Tissue”), biting distortions (“Endo Turn”), enormous fuzzes (“Underslung”) and dreampop delays (“Guth and Zeno”) there seem to be no limits in Smith’s will of experimentation with the instrument. A vein of industrial can also be noticed in the noises that haunt these tracks, most of all the final one, “Endo Turn”.
There is a video for the first track “Underslung” on the studio’s Youtube Channel. It shows a sheep interacting with a giant rubber ball attached to a seesaw, in slow motion and with altered colors. In some moments it seems that the curious sheep is playing with the ball, in other moments it looks like this obtuse animal is fighting with it or feeling menaced. I think it depicts perfectly the sensations that this music invokes: these images are hallucinated and ironic, funny and unsettling, all at the same time. And so is DrAlienSmith’s music. This is music to be listened to with the volume fully turned clockwise. You will enjoy feeling stoned by it, getting lost in the noise. For this reason the only criticism that I could make is that I’d like this record to last some more, I think it would have been a much more psychedelic experience.
DrAlienSmith – Under Songs