Stream: Espectrostatic's PHANTOMINOM VGS EP

Ian Thomas

Espectrostatic

In honor of April Fools' Day, Alex Cuervo (Hex Dispensers, Espectrostatic) will revisit last year's mighty and menacing Espectrostatic LP by unleashing another conceptual flight of fancy upon the world. Espectrostatic's PHANTOMINOM VGS EP, a six song digital exclusive is comprised of new and remixed Espectrostatic material, as well as remixed material from his horror-punk Hex Dispensers.

Where last year's self-titled LP found Cuervo merely alluding to his world's untold tales, the PHANTOMINOM VGS EP begins to flesh one of those tales out, at least in its conceptual explanation. The EP is meant to function as the score to a story in which, as the legend goes, a heretofore unknown video game system was discovered at a garage sale circa 1988. With electronic components and connectors that didn''t match any existing technology, it was assumed that this system had an other-worldly origin. Cuervo, through the use of his Espectrostatic dark arts, managed to reverse-engineer the PHANTOMINOM's audio specifications. The EP is the result of his recording his compositions to those specs.

Though the tale deals in tropes standard to the Lovecraftian genre of weird fiction, it is to Cuervo's credit that he tells it with a straight face. In a comic book or a pulp story, it would be trite and derivative. As a jumping off point for an April Fools' Day release it feels fun and somehow just right. It's a further demonstration of Cuervo's desire to spin fantastical yarns.

As a whole, PHANTOMINOM VGS does not feel as a self-contained as last year's Espectrostatic LP. In spite of the tale that bolsters it, it does not quite achieve the same found object aesthetic. In trade, however, Cuervo offers precious new Espectrostatic material—even if it is just a few songs—that expands on the Espectrostatic sound, pushing it into Industrial territory without losing the trademark weirdness listeners would expect, having heard the LP.

Potential listeners on the fence about the purchase should know that the EP is a benefit release. One hundred percent of proceeds from the sale of this EP will go towards Hex Dispenser Rebecca Whitley's medical expenses, following major surgery in 2013, in which an ovarian cyst was removed. Though the cyst was benign and she is healthy again, Whitley still faces a great deal of economic hardship, as the cyst was deemed a pre-existing condition and her insurance did not cover the majority of the surgery's expense.

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