By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Surrealist pop music is a genre with plenty of pretenders but few real artistes. History bears out this sad fact: Ever since the flawless Sgt. Pepper's found its response in the trying-too-hard Their Satanic Majesties Request, weirdo pop has proffered way too many intentionally bizarre Perry Farrells and way too few effortlessly eccentric Björks.
Which is why all should hail Goodiepal, an obviously out-there laptop wielder whose splendiferously technicolor debut record Narc Beacon adds his name to the depleted ranks of intelligently irreverent tuneage. His sound? It's kinda like Os Mutantes cut up to the tune of the The Price Is Right theme song. Or, better yet, it's like Bavarian folk music underscored with some of the most hyperkinetically fun digital signal processing this side of Dat Politics. Narc Beacon is deranged, disconcerting, and totally inspiring--like the best bits of Zappa with all his lame "musicianship" edited out. Who would have thought that such imagination could emanate from a genre known mostly for its monochromaticism?
But really, who cares about genre specifics when you've got Goodiepal's laptop careening recklessly from the queasy game-show melodies of "Stomp Naffer" to the robo-choir theatrics of "My Robotic Skills Have Failed"? It's a certifiably riotous set, yet one shot through with some unexpected moments of poignancy, like the quiet, violin-led sea shanty "Crash Lat."
Which makes you wonder: Who is this Goodiepal anyway, and why does he sound so deliciously alien? Consult the liner notes and you'll find only that "Goodiepal is too shy"--a disingenuous excuse for a bio designed, according to rumor, to deflect legal attention away from a larger issue. According to electronic-music-scene rumor, Goodiepal stole melodies from the Nokia corporation, during his tenure there as a composer of cell-phone ring tones. Of course, truth is less fun than fiction: The Skipp records Web site outs Goodiepal as Danish noisemaker Kristian Vesper, who is apparently under no legal threat from any phone company. Still, he does steal jingles, as evidenced on a poignant number entitled, uh, "Nokia." But don't spill the beans, or else the law might interfere with some of electronica's most thrillingly insane music to date. If theft sounds as good as this, I won't tell if you won't.