Artificial Tide – 40:37 ALBUM REVIEW

This is a question I pose to everyone who has never taken any kind of drug before; have you ever wondered what it’s like? To trip balls really hard and just be lost in time and space? To have that feeling that you’re outside of your own mind? Well good news, now you don’t have to take any kind of narcotic or illegal substance to feel that, you just have to listen to this album! And I know, pretty much any psychedelic band tries to go for that feeling, and it’s an overused comment on those kind of bands that it makes you feel like you’re on a drug trip. But this band takes it a step further by essentially eliminating basic song structure.

Typically when you have a song, there’s a melody, a consistent sense of rhythm, a beginning, middle, end, that kind of stuff. This doesn’t really have that at all. It’s not a runthrough album where all the tracks just kinda merge into one, but none of the tracks are really what I would call songs and more what I would call experiences. It’s sort of like each track is just creating a feeling rather than trying to do anything specific musically. I would call it very similar to what the impressionists did, the tracks just kinda sit there, going along for the ride, changing when they feel like it instead of when the song demands they do. That’s really the biggest part of this album, everything just seems to be done because the artist felt like it. Typically I mean that as an insult because it shows that the artist has no idea what they’re doing, but in this case the artist perfectly knows what they’re doing, they’re just so good that they’re able to do what they feel like and have it sound good.

If there’s one flaw with this album, it’s that it wanders too much at times. It’s easy to get lost in the soniscapes of crazy ambient guitar noises, and vocals that are instrument than actual vocals. So easy that that’s precisely what happens, you. Without any kind of obvious structure, it’s harder to pay attention to the album as slowly your mind wanders more and more, so that you’re listen to the first track one moment, and the next it’s already midway through the third track and it seems like it’s been 3 minutes, but it’s really been about 15. I can definitely understand that that’s probably at least part of the point of the album, but at the same time it’s still a bit of a problem. I want to make it clear, it’s not as if there’s no tonality or any kind of musical melody in this whatsoever, it’s just not nearly a prominent as the pure psychedelic insanity that happens.

One minor detail I like is the title, which in an apparent tribute to John Cage, is just how long the album is (well, technically it’s 40:25, but shhhhh). It really leaves a lot of room for interpretation on what you want this album to be about, and goes well with the free nature of the album. Even the cover is basically just distorted nonsense. This band is just going to play whatever it feels like. The music is a canvas. However you want to interpret it, is up to you.