No, Paragaté, you’re not going to fool me with that piano-recital-perfect opening track on Spaceflight Pharmacology. True, “Friendship” is a simple-enough clean piano solo piece, but we’ve been down this road before, you and I, and I know it’s going to get…tricky. Aha! What’s this I see on your web site? “Friendship” is a shape-note hymn from 1789, and after Tom DePlonty gets done playing it so very nicely at the outset, he and Tim Risher are going to take its structure and mess around with it in other tracks. I see. That would explain your going from a hymn to the punchy glitch of “Jupiter,” which is about as close to club music as I’ve heard you get. That one thumps right along, punched in places with an industrial squeal. I’d like to say I was surprised, but this is what you do, Paragaté. You take a theme and run with it, all over the place. I mean, what about that title track? Well, I’m not sure where the hymn’s hiding in there as you jump from the groovin’ bassline funk and dramatic string bursts of some lost 70s cop movie into a tangled frenzy of free jazz/prog keyboard madness, but hey, I’m along for the ride because it’s just glazed with cool. Weird cool, yeah, but still… Then there’s “Rust Petals,” which feels like a drum-driven worldbeat piece that you lace with glistening runs on electric piano and spike with jazz flute. Your drumbeats here are thick and powerful, the other sounds wafting from hazy dreams to mutant animal calls echoing through some semi-psychedelic jungle. Later, you decide it’s time to get all ambient-ish, so you lay down quiet drifts and pads on “Sway.” But to get to the end, we have to pass through the kinetic bop of “Aliquis Latet Error.” I like the way you rebound these sharp, hard-struck piano notes around in my head and send fragments of the overall melody skittering in search of each other. We’re rolling back toward that glitchy thing you had going on earlier, aren’t we? And the piano? Well, that’s getting us ready for the end, isn’t it, where you hit us with Risher’s reverent reverse-echo take on “Friendship.” You clever son of a gun, Paragaté. And here’s the thing–I was with you for every switch-up, every new equation, each permutation, because there’s a lot to listen to, a lot to take in, as always. See, this is what you do to me, Paragaté, every time. You change and you change and I sit here and say, okay. Show me. And you do, Paragaté. And it’s something new and interesting each time.
Available from Camerata at Bandcamp.