The latest album from Ben Parker aka Cascading Elephants entitled Mind Palace is his best. I’ve listened to his other releases and he's taking it up a notch in terms of production and creativity. It seems to have clicked.
Make no mistake about Mind Palace; it is an experimental album. I can almost guarantee that casual music fans who stick to radio and what permeates pop culture will not know what to make of this. This is for people who aren't afraid to explore the fringe of what music can offer.
Apparently, Cascading Elephants has been compared to artists like Dan Deacon, Animal Collective, Dan Deacon and Oneohtrix Point Never. I actually appreciate all those bands for different reasons. I’d say two of them are more comparable to Mind Palace. Oneohtrix Point Never seems the most obvious to me for a number of reasons I won’t get into. The other band Animal Collective ring similar but not when I think about their most popular release Merriweather Post Pavilion. The sound collages are much more comparable to their 2003 release Here Comes the Indian.
Mind Palace is the definition of headphone music. It’s an album where you can explore the minute details. You can wander down the crystal palace at the end of “Bodies” or an exotic jungle on another planet on “Sharp.”
The sounds, textures and tones are often too disparate to know where they came from. I’m sure that most of what you hear has been sampled, re-sampled and manipulated through filters and rung through an inter-dimensional plane before finding its way as computer code that you are listening to.
Although Mind Palace is experimental Parker can explore different spaces that might be appropriate on a dance floor. Take for instance “Golden West” which takes advantage of a 4/4 kick drum that pulsates as indecipherable sounds wrap themselves around the beat. You might not hear this at Applebee's but possibly at an underground club party at 2 am on a Sunday morning. The same could be said of songs like “Coffee Lane” or “Rowe.”
The album often dips into dark and ominous territory bearing similarities to Scott Walker's release The Drift. Take for instance”From A” which felt like a horror filled nightmare.
This release isn't for everyone. That goes without saying. In fact this is very niche music. For fans of the aforementioned bands this is a no brainer but I also encourage those unfamiliar to take a dip. It may sound unusual and foreign but you may appreciate something you never thought you could before.
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