The old joke about the Grateful Dead was that you had to be on drugs to dig their music. Though they”re certainly on the other side of the stylistic fence, you could say the same about Mount Florida, the Scottish electronica duo Matador Records” latest overseas find. That”s because appreciating Arrived Phoenix requires both the free time and the ability to dupe oneself into mindlessly contemplating the pseudo-profound that only acid-eaters truly possess.
There are ideas here, to be sure. Whether you want to call them “soundscapes,” “aural collages,” or just “moods,” there is a semblance of a coherence lurking somewhere amidst the jumble of electro-noise and lethargic beats. But picking up on that coherence is more or less act of free association, and since melody and song structure are things these guys have little use for, it”s up to the listener to play aural connect-the-dots. Worst of all, it”s really, really, boring even worse than listening to some drunken raver prattle on about the revolutionary progressive-trance sounds of DJ Forgettable.
Near the halfway point, this Phoenix does begin to rise from its ho-hum electronic ashes: “Yo La Kinski” is a dourly melodic inquiry into (of all things) Grandfather”s war-time activities and “Celebration” achieves a certain zen-like grace by tossing some rapturous guitar fuzz atop a trance-like groove.
But as quickly as things get interesting they turn drudging again. If you make it past “Don”t Do Dada” (which, to their credit, MF don”t do), you have the distinctly non-rocking pleasure of listening to a frigging Noam Chomsky lecture (excerpted from the “Manufacturing Consent” documentary). So let the cognoscenti fool themselves. For whiskey-drinking sons of bitches like the rest of us, this is just an arty snooze-fest.