Cosmic Cairns is the moniker for Ethan Slaughter, a multi-instrumentalist and one-man recording project from Las Vegas, NV. Slaughter has written a lot of music. He participated in a project called WeeklyBeats where he was challenged to write one song a week for a year. At the end of the year Slaughter ended up with forty-eight songs. He simmered those down to fourteen songs, which he ended using on an album called Antimatter Highway.
I took the time to listen to Antimatter Highway and during that time I would often think to myself what the world would be like if love was absent from our lives and everything was made of plastic. Other times I pictured myself in a dilapidated house and when I ate something it tasted like cardboard. Ok well maybe I’m getting a bit carried away but Antimatter Highway feels oddly disconnected with emotions in general and with itself. I don’t know whether to praise Slaughter or criticize him. Antimatter Highway often feels like an acid trip where nothing quite feels real. The songs are like that. None of them feel heartfelt and none of them strike a distinct emotion. They exist frozen in time and I stare with a glazed over look that conveys confusion and indifference.
The album starts off with “Some Perpetual Outsider,” which is a clear cut example of what I’m trying to get at. The clapping and vocal melody sounded like something you would hear on a kids show like Barney but it mixed this vibe that gave me an unsettling feeling like everything was melting and I could see their skulls.
The vibe continues with “How Cosmic Cairns Got His Groove Back.” It has that upbeat happy vibe like “Penny Lane” but feels generic. Kinda of like someone who isn’t genuinely happy but instead ingests a cocktail of Prozac and Zoloft to experience something that feels sort of like happiness.
As the album progresses Slaughter continues to screw around with my being and I’m pretty sure that all this is intentional. Songs like “Zongo,” “Almost Imaginable” and “Eulogy For the Sun” left me wondering if I actually existed. I somehow got through it all and more than once.
Antimatter Highway isn't something I ever need to listen to again. I don’t mean that as an insult. I feel the same way about most David Lynch movies. I’m not sure I can recommend this to people who have a strong ego as they might end up naked in a dark closet, covered in an army blanket. That being said other species and life forms may have an appreciation for this music.
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