Calling out to the cosmos, it’s Joshua WF Thomas, via Hong Kong's Platinum Metres. The record, which has the same name as the label, is an attempt to convey human nature and a depiction of music from around the globe. The Plantinum Metres vinyl LP spans many genres and is full of collaborations from a wide range of multicultural artists. It's extensive, weird and delightful and is Joshua's ode to the gold disc's NASA sent into space in then 70's.
Platinum coloured heavyweight vinyl gatefold LP on Platinum Metres.
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This album is the world. ‘Platinum Metres’ may be Joshua WF Thomson’s debut record, but he’s working with the ambitions of some omniscient Old Testament God, or Michael Gira on a thirty minute long Swans song: he sees it all, he sees it all, he sees it all. For his first record, he’s decided to produce reworked and imagined versions of the music sent into space aboard Voyager I by NASA. His idea was to write and record a facsimile of shared human experience and communication, bringing together artists from every corner of our spherical earth for one defining mission statement. Around its somewhat stunted kraut-rock grooves and its often gentle rhythms, he invites the global contradictions that come with different types of music being played at the same time.
Remember when Jon Mueller blew our mind earlier this year by trying to record the sound of caps lock? This is like that, only the music is happier, brighter -- it documents the lives instead of the deaths. The ridiculous piano and keyboard sounds that infiltrate the record early on feel like nervous slip-ups that were kept in because of how organic and free they sounded -- they’re not quite incidental or improvised, but they feel integral in a very loose way. The record feels like it’s been built on snap decisions that have been given a lot of afterthought: it features vocal shanties such as the one mumbled over quick guitar notes by a young child -- which recalls Sun City Girls’ ‘Dante’s Disneyland Inferno’ but in more affectionate tones -- and stupendous rhythmic bursts such as the bona fide rock freakout “Theme for Seven Continents”. Also, there's some jazz.
Thomson’s ambitions are lofty, and become questionable when you think about them in the grander context: they try to collect together more experiences than one person can have and claim as their own. We’re at a point in time where the notion that “music is a universal language!” has largely been discredited -- it’s instead celebrated as a collection of many different languages. This album, as a result, largely feels like a work of standard Western avant-garde as filtered through contributions from across the globe. If NASA is hoping some alien will come across their record and see what it’s like to be from earth, they’re forgetting how many different people are living here. And if aliens were to chance upon Joshua WF Thomson’s debut record of weirdly collated experimental noises and ferocious drumming, they’d probably think we were a fucking weird bunch. They would not want to come to our cocktail party. Fun listen, though.
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