Album Reviews

Plankton Wat – Future Times

(Thrill Jockey) UK release date: 26 February 2021

Plankton Wat  - Future Times The seconds seem to slide out of reach and the clouds roll and turn a dusky pink as you listen to the measured drone of first track The Burning World from the new release by resurrected psych rockers Plankton Wat, such is its engaging vine like grip. A solo project for Dewey Mahood from the group Eternal Tapestry, after putting out 2017’s cassette release Hidden Path on Sky Lantern Records (who have worked with such cosmic delights as Sundays & Cybele, Hills and Kikagaku Moyo), the predominantly instrumental Future Times finds Mahood returning to the warm embrace of Thrill Jockey, who had previously released 2012’s Spirits and 2013’s superb Drifters Temple.

Dylan Carlson’s caustic dustbowl guitar vistas on Earth’s second phase comeback album Hex: Or Printing In The Infernal Method inform the feral Wild West machinations that get conjured up by Nightfall, a fuzzy melodic hallucination appearing on its desolate horizon of fuzz. Working with frequent collaborator Dustin Dybvig under the guidance of fellow Washington state musician Victor Nash, who engineered/produced the record, the descriptive sensorial grandeur the track arouses continues on into Modern Ruins. Dabbling in New Age aesthetics, its early utopian ambiance undergoes various tonal shifts, becoming radiant in the process.

What’s striking about Dark Cities is the use of a primitive drum machine to lay down a robotic beat. Its electronic core jerks the album out of the mesa and towards the Hacienda. Economically sparing in its tempo, it’s a step removed from the Americana noodling that rises up around it and short lived as the focal point of the album returns to the plains with Teenage Daydream and Sanctuary. The latter in particular draws from the same singular watering hole as Neil Young’s experimentally shamanic Dead Man soundtrack, with jagged tumbleweeds of feedback barreling it along.

The intense lysergic abstractions of title track Future Times dissolve the temporal monotony as the album begins to slow its pace. In opposition to its defiant name, the three minutes of Defund The Police once more finds the musicians zoning out leisurely before returning to earth with the Velvet Underground inspired melancholy of Wind Mountain. Expansive and unified in its character, Future Times is a considered album, actively concerned with the spontaneous expansion of boundaries, be they geographical or psychological.

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Plankton Wat – Future Times