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Troll Scientists

Useless Science

(Space Boogie; US: Dec 2007; UK: Unavailable)

Not everyone can be Juno Reactor, you know. For psy-trance to stay viable, others need to fill the void. Sadly, most self-proclaimed contenders to the crown tend to be pale imitators who can’t remember that funky used to mean something gritty and visceral as music specific adjective. Stepping forward with purpose, Finland’s Jani and Staffan prove a force to be reckoned with of their impressive full-length debut. Their peculiar niche of trippin’ elf magic funky forest trance is the real deal.

The opening “Dumbient” is an instant classic. It builds slowly on the back of a floating pads and gutted percussion till a mauled world music vocal sample changes course and lands the psy-dub construction on a bouncy, Enigma like beat, a densely synthetic atmosphere, a little bit of djembe drumming, and a tasty country guitar. “Time Trip” is their “Conga Fury” party stomper with an obligatory Terence McKenna sample, chugging beat, and rambling effects skittering across the dimensional rifts that confetti the dark regions of our consensus reality. The album is based in a lot of really smart interplay between their synth leads, pads, unusual samples, and basslines, all of which gloriously protects the standard four-four beats from going stale (a job much easier said than done). Never before has a fax machine and dial tone sounded so psychedelic as they do on “Fairy Tales” without sounding cliché or tacky. As such, Useless Science is neither useless, nor science helps us play… what was I talking about? Pixies! Pixies everywhere!


Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.

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