Balam Acab: The Novocaine Music Man
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 10:04
This isn’t real. This is a dream. Throw on your head phones, play the debut album Wander/Wonder from Tri Angle Record’s own Balam Acab and prepare to enter a world which could only be conceived by H.P. Lovecraft himself. “Wander/Wonder” stands to prove that Balam Acab is an artist with a voice and style that is truly unique and inspired. While the artist has had some success with his earlier EP “See Birds”, this debut full album has put Balam Acab on the map, showing that he is an artist who has matured and most definitely conceived something of its own nature.
Balam Acab has frequently been categorized as a “witch house” artist, however he sticks out as being and artists who truly transcends beyond the silly tagline. Balam Acabis new, the entire genre is relatively new, and the record label, Tri Angle records, is also relatively new. Even on top of these things the style of music is anything but ‘poppy’ and so it isn’t surprising that his success is limiting to those willing to indulge in a little experimental music. There’s something to this album, that while most similar artists come off sounding dull, uninteresting, and in fact pretentious and lame Balam Acabhas found a way to really make it crawl inside. The artist Balam Acab can be more formerly recognized as Alec Koone; a 20 year old native of Pennsylvania. Being so young presents young Alec with an advantage for what will surely bring an interesting, hopeful career. While he may not reach star status, those faithful to him are eager to ride alongside him for this musical journey.
“Wander/Wonder” is a deep album in every sense. The album has a theme throughout, aquatic in nature. Not only does it give one the feeling of being submerged under water, what with the graceful yet haunting vocals that quite literally seem to echo from the depths, but literally it is lush with live field samples of running water, rain, etc. This aquatic theme does well to transcend beyond its soundscape, listeners being overwhelming with emotions one can’t help but think “This is what drowning feels like.” It is sad, yet tranquil, even peaceful, but unmistakably somber. Song such as “Apart” and “Oh, Why” were truly made for the broken hearted or the lost souls. Make no mistake, the saddening quality or any and every quality of Balam Acab isn’t direct or obvious, it creeps, it creeps so well. That’s the key to this album; its uncanny ability to seep into you, as creepy as it is, is truly something that has been crafted, purposefully and well. It’s something that grows onto you; one doesn’t realize it until they themselves have been completely submerged and it is too late to turn back. The trick lies within its production (as most electronic music does) however, unlike most electronic music Balam Acab is really capturing something with exact precision: he knows what he wants to transfer from his mind into musical form, and it works. Building upon layer after layer of ambient, atmospheric, ethereal melodies and blatant sound effects; these songs present the listener with something truly textural. The album flows, it flow maybe slow and sedating, but down the river the listener shall go.
Balam Acab is undoubtedly an acquired taste. It is experimental music, if you’re looking with something ‘poppy’ with a steady beat you can dance to drunk and pumped at parties: do not consider Balam Acab…at all. However, if you’re looking for something to relax and sink into Balam Acab is definitely worth checking out. While Balam Acab, Tri Angle Records, and ‘Witch House’ are thing that have not yet come into their own and may never, Balam Acab is one artist whose music should be salvaged and hopefully find a place amongst a larger audience.