An Ultimate Massaging of the Senses at MungBeing
Published August 2014
An Ultimate Massaging of the Senses: Review of Ultima II Massage by Tobacco
by Alison Ross
If there was ever band whose music conjured the disorienting sensations of synesthesia, Tobacco is it. At times the songs on Ultima II Massage sound like melting, warping colors and textures. Darkly, bizarrely kaleidescopic, the swampy sonic swirls are leavened with lightening flashes of cold melody. The slithery, buoyant grooves of R&B and hip hop keep the songs afloat in a sometimes-sludge of metal mud. Nightmare-noir cuddles up to cozy cosmic tones, as the vocals of Tom Fec, he of Black Moth Super Rainbow infamy, are siphoned through a vocoder that alternately charge his warbles with a demon growl or creepy falsetto. It's as though a teddy bear crashed into a sea monster. The songs seem, too, to be implicit, caustic commentary on our synthetic, auto-tuned pop culture. Tobacco is aiming for an organic sound using processed means. He achieves that effect full-throttle; there is a ludicity to the muddled madness, a blinding clarity in the twisted synth lines and viscious menace of the guitars. These songs are brutally dissonant and yet transcendently harmonious. How is that possible? And I won't even delve into the lyrical content, whose allusions suggest preoccupations with kitsch, low-brow culture, and profanity. More than anything, the evocation of tactile imagery is what adheres the most from this Lynchian aural excursion.