As I was listening to WAsteland ElectronicAH Vol. Too ~ Ambient(esque) Musics for Your Lucid Coma, I found myself constantly wondering if the tinny and slightly clumsy construction of some of the pieces were on purpose or the sign of someone perhaps less adept at the craft than a listener might hope. So I headed over to Micah Cone’s Bandcamp page where I read that these songs were “Created on a 2009 MacBook Pro utilizing Garageband and its Musical Typing feature.” Mystery solved, and now I better understand why I’m not overly interested. There’s nothing all that objectionable here, but I find that the pieces hold my attention for a couple minutes at most before I want to move on. There are very listenable moments—Cone hits it squarely on “A.% (Gravitational Intolerance)” with a blend of wobbly, lonely bass notes and a quietly singing synth line placed over the sound of a Rhodes electric piano. I like the way he metes it out slowly, with the synth taking a more vibrant line. He sends the Rhodes bouncing between left and right in a way that’s mildly dizzying but acceptably so. “A.# (150,000-Light-Year-Long-Lightning-Bolt)” grabs my attention at first. It’s very subtle, with a catchy melody over humming electronics. It loses me a bit when the tone switches up and Cone brings a sort of silly-sounding synth to chirp out a passage. “A.^ (The Low-Hanging Fruit of Knowledge)” is addictively fun—again, at first—but unless you’re a huge fan of chipset and video game theme songs from the 80s, the fascination will probably wear off well before it runs its almost-10-minute course. For those first few minutes, though, its jaunty tone and meaty bits of bass are engaging.
I understand that the whole old computer and musical typing thing is meant to be the hip draw here, but irony only goes so far. If the music doesn’t hold my attention once we’re past the curiosity stage, what’s left? I hear a lot of elements I like on this release, but the approach and Cone’s tendency to spend more time on a piece than it needs just makes me shrug. Give it a listen for yourself.
Available at Bandcamp.