It’s been a while since I’ve written a review for FD, but when this record came through and I gave it a listen, I knew it wasn’t ever going to leave the house. Prostitutes is the moniker of Cleveland, Ohio’s Jim Donadio and Psychedelic Black comes straight through a bend in spacetime, from nothing, into your unsuspecting ear canals. Donadio has gone straight primitive with his first proper LP and ended up creating one of my favorite records of the year so far.
Starting off with “Shaking Single Engine Planes,” Psychedelic Black slowly lowers you into its matte labyrinth. It’s like a black hole. Single notes are shot from a cannon but quickly swallowed back into a central matrix while other electronics swirl and buzz, making everything feel exquisitely claustraphobic. The simple throb that underlines “You Must Not Relent,” become servo motors, fueled by electricity, trying to come alive. Strategically placed cuts of tribal-infused tabla samples are a warning that the whole experiment is about to go off the rails. It’s such a simple addition, but it pushes the tune over the top and highlights just how damn good Donadio is.
Even when Prostitutes breaks out into more melodic territory, like the sound of the loneliest dancefloor on “Flipped Pieces of Coin” or the warped ether of “Rogue Elephants,” Donadio’s compositions still have an air of desolation to them. The former is pushed ahead by a straightforward bassline and warped rhythms that are barely rhythms. Synth leads sail on top, trying to paint a pretty facade. These harmonic elements can’t hide the crumbling, hollow core though. Everything pulses ahead in a linear way – like this is how it’s supposed to be – but it’s just a picture. Embracing this dichotomy is what makes Psychedelic Black so compelling.
Somehow this music manages to be both futuristic (in a very dystopian, post-Snowcrash way) and primordial at the same time. Donadio has stripped things down so much that he’s moved forward and unlocked something new and entirely his own. This music exists in a world where you don’t need air to breathe – it’s all been given away anyway, so just find a dark, crusty corner on the dancefloor to collapse.