Cavern of Anti-Matter – Void Beats / Invocation Trex

Released 2/19 for Duophonic

4/7 stars

 

Admittedly, I’ve often found myself judging artists prematurely based off the name they bill themselves under. So when I saw that Tim Gane of Stereolab (a name and band I just so happen to love) was releasing an album with a new group called “Cavern of Anti-Matter”, I thought to myself, “This is going to be gnarly.” However, gnarly has dual meaning. Based on their name I anticipated a cacophonous, far-reaching, soul-enveloping sound. Names, as I should very well know by now, are misleading.

The first track on Void Beats / Invocation Trex is titled “tardis cymbals”, and it pretty much plays like an extended krautrock-buildup that never reaches its peak (IT’S 13 MINUTES). Tim Gane isn’t a stranger to long songs either, and seems to treat himself by including three nine-minute songs on this record. WELP.

Almost halfway in, something occurs to me: the krautrock influence is so strong I can’t help but harken back to the first time listening to bands like Neu! and Kraftwerk. The progressive, plucky guitars; the constant, undulating “motorik” used to describe the songs of the genre’s pioneers. What might be pastiche now is music that was once considered avant-garde. The sonic explorations conducted by Cavern of Anti-Matter may not be “brave” now, but they are still just as entertaining and stimulating, and I’d contend that this album offers a nice gateway into the Krautrock genre that you won’t get from groups like LCD Soundsystem *all praise be to the great one, James Murphy*, who include a more nuanced influence of that particular style of music.

By the time I get to “liquid gate”, the song featuring vocals from Bradford Cox of Deerhunter fame, there actually had not been any vocals. The track lands right in the midst of Gane’s epic soundscapes, and honestly kind of feels a little off. Don’t get me wrong, the song is rad on its own, but it doesn’t fit within the context of this ebbing and flowing album. It’s a more contemporary sounding, alternative-jig. But perhaps I wouldn’t have found out about this album if not for the Bradford Cox song, and perhaps a number of other individuals would not have either, so thank you, Mr. Cox.

So maybe this album is a wee bit artificial and contrived, but it’s good music nonetheless. One might say that it could also use additional vocals sprinkled onto the one hour, twelve minute album, but it’s the variety of synths, guitars, and keyboards that grab you and suck you in, and by those means, one might say that this band throws the listener into a sort of cavern of anti-matter 😉