CRYSTAL SHIPSSS - Crystal Shipsss EP
Danish born but Berlin resident Jacob Faurholt has been releasing a lot of music in the last ten years, most of it under his own name, moving from rather traditional singer/songwriter stuff to a more lo-fi based sound. Lately he has created the alter ego Crystal Shipsss under which he digs even deeper into the strangely produced universes of lo-fidelity. Last year’s debut album Yay managed to totally amaze me, especially as the debut 10 inch vinyl came with an additional download remix album that showed even deeper glimpses into his musical visions.
This summer there will be a second longplayer, but until then he decided to release a short five track self-titled EP as a teaser. The EP will be released as a very limited cassette of 100 copies (50 for Europe on Mouca Records and 50 for the USA on Three Ring Records). To understand what Crystal Shipsss is about, one should envision a strange Dane living in an apartment among all sorts of instruments instead of furniture. Jacob Faurholt doesn’t care about any prevailing music trends, but instead plays the music that comes to his mind. In the end, it all sounds very idiot-savant-like, but in a good way.
I won’t for once start at the beginning, but jump instead to the middle track Listening To Devil Town, which immediately struck my eye when I received the EP. This crackling mess of a song is the best tribute to Daniel Johnston that I have ever come across. The rhythm is fast and upbeat, all the instruments are heavily distorted, leaving the fragile vocals incredibly clearly in the foreground. The lyrics make sense in the context of what the song is about, and despite its short length of only two minutes, you can’t get enough of this perfect lo-fi pop song which owes as much to the legendary artist it is about as to the very early Guided By Voices.
The EP’s two other standout tracks are the opener and the closer. Where The Wild Things Are is another irresistible lo-fi rock song which starts with a bumbling drum section, but later comes with a sweet interlude with a cute piano part. Structurally, if not from a melodic perspective, this track reminds me a lot of Speeding Motorcycle by Daniel Johnston who this time has left a really big trace. The concluding Night Of The Creeps starts with distorted guitar and the fragile, bleak vocals, before drum and bass add a fast rhythm and bring the song to a furious end. The two other tracks are less structured and come without drums. They are also slightly longer although the longest piece, Crushing Like A Skull, is still rather short with only a tiny little bit over three minutes. It’s still quite a nice moment, with a lot of distortion once again, of course, and strange effects, and is that a mandolin I hear chirping in the background? It’s maybe not such an obvious instant pleaser, but still a song that grows on you. Then there is Dusty Vinyls, probably the EP’s darkest moment, and even though still better than most of what you hear from other artists, it can’t quite reach the geniality of his other material.
So this time I only give nine instead of ten points, but this is still a very exception if rather short EP… but let us not despair, as the next longplayer will be out in summer. Until then, we can enjoy these teasers, some of which are the best music Jacob Faurholt has written so far. If he keeps up improving like this, I might have to invent a new rating system.