Remember when electronic albums were more than a collection of a few twelve-inch singles and throwaway filler tracks? So does Pink Skull. In a time when tinny distortion, hyperfast BPM, and same-samey beats smudge together on the dance floor, the Philly-based duo has put together the most diverse and vital electronic album that’s likely to come out this year.
Julian “S Process” Grefe and Justin “JG” Geller follow up 2004’s well-received Blast Yr Akk EP by taking you on a long, strange, genre-busting trip that nods to ‘60s psychedelia, ‘70s krautrock, ‘80s house, and ‘90s rave along the way. Zeppelin 3, Pink Skull’s first long-player, weaves together fourteen very different tracks, meshing futuristic soundscapes and tribal rhythms in a way that shouldn’t make sense but ultimately does. Sit back and trust your guides as they lead you through a pulsing, psychedelic, Technicolor sonic voyage, with just a sprinkling of international flavor added to taste.
Every song is original, but the following are the stickiest: the hypnotic, dance-floor-friendly “Unicorn Harpoon” (previously released on the EP of the same name); “Get Inside (My Tiny Pyramids),” a helping of horn-heavy, hallucinogenic, acid house; and, the experimental electro-psych epic “Bubblelog Aftermath” (the title, of course, a thinly veiled homage to AFX’s Analogue Bubblebath).
Pink Skull have also included some of their excellent remixes of other artists’ songs. Philly party rap gets represented in the bubbly, booty-shaking form of Plastic Little’s “Crambodia” remix (featuring all-stars Amanda Blank, Ghostface Killah, and Spank Rock), while Man Man offshoot Icy Demons’ “1850” gets the funked-up outer-space treatment, replete with alien-esque voice effects. The album’s gentle comedown comes courtesy of “Take Me Out Riding,” a stripped-down acoustic-folk-esque track with sweetly melancholic vocals by Mirah.
If Zeppelin 3 has a sin, it’s omitting the blazing disco megabanger “Drugs Will Keep Us Together” (recently released on Brooklyn’s new the Savant Guard label). Otherwise, those looking to groove, chill, party, work out, make art, or even make love will find what they need here. Zeppelin 3 might just be the kick in the ass today’s electronic music scene has been waiting for.