Vial Of Sound-VOS

Every now and then I get something in my mailbox that I honestly can’t make sense of, I can’t wrap my head around it exactly and this is the point where my mind stands at attention and questions itself. I suppose it’s a good example of cognitive dissonance, but whereas most people want to hate things that cause cognitive dissonance, I prefer to figure out what is causing the discord or disguised appreciation (like that grade school crush that comes out in taunting and aggressive weirdness). So it was that I downloaded the debut of Vial of Sounds debut a few months or so ago and watched it gather dust on my hard drive, until a few people asked me about them, wondered how they were, what their deal was and if I had heard of them. My response, “Yeah, I downloaded their EP and I have to admit, it’s really fucking weird.” And it is, there is no way around that. This is why Vial Of Sound intrigues me so much. I’m not sure I could tell you the names of the songs of the top of my head (except for “Save The Night”), but that’s mainly because the entire EP plays like a consistent homage to a movement  that never really happened. And for that, I can only be impressed–the age of the machinery upon which they recorded this work makes this EP seem older and wiser than it really is, but the modern flourishes are etched deeply in its recording surfaces as well. My only thought is how the hell do they pull this off live?

Imagine if the inventor of the Moog, Kraftwerk and the vocoder bits from Electric Light Orchestra’s Time had a baby—somehow Vial of Sound would be the logical offspring (perhaps with some of Gary Numan’s DNA thrown in for good luck). I’m still not sure what to make of it, except that I do like it and that I am impressed that any artist would spend the amount of time making these five songs which have virtually no commercial appeal outside of Germanic Europe. The entire EP is recorded on ancient, analog synthesizers and honestly, it’s downright brilliant—it is the equivalent of a music geeks ambient decadent dessert. The entire EP evokes a time in the 1970s where modern society was promised jetpacks, flying cars and a Jetsons lifestyle in the not so distant future, where we all imagined that shag carpet was leading us steadily to astronaut food, space migration and ultra-modern furniture made completely out  of plastic ala the egg chair with built in speakers. While the members of the Vial of Sound are a closely guarded secret (not really) this project is actually something I can enjoy from the members of the band, and with the nostalgic touch of Bob Hoag’s production something special occurs. You can find out for yourself, it’s weird and it’s wonderful and you might honestly hate it at first, but it will eventually gnaw at your soul until you want to “Dance until the sun goes down.”

This Friday, November 30th you can actually catch Vial Of Sound live, fresh from same dates in California as they open for the Gospel Claws album release party at Crescent Ballroom. Jen Deveroux has put together a magnificent lineup for this event with Gospel Claws, Zero Zero, Vial Of Sound, Me Vale Madre and Sleep Money. This will be a weird and wonderful evening to behold and I highly encourage your attendance–there may literally be something for everyone here, but I’d suggest hanging out all night, because you’re going to find something to love in all five of these bands.

Download Vial Of Sound’s VOS Here!

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