ASESOME NEW RELEASE! Josh Hanson is another of Portland, Oregon’s underappreciated sons. Having come up through the ranks of long-time, long-forgotten faves Hochenkeit, he also spent time as a member of The Davis Redford Trio. But Hanson’s path diverges into a totally different sphere nowadays, spinning solo modular synth exploits to the stars. Influenced not just by the likes of Subotnick and Cluster but also various types of Eastern sounds, Hanson is looking forward, trying to find new pathways in electronic music. Using a homebuilt synth, Hanson is like a magician that keeps you looking one direction while he’s cooking up something special from out of left-field. “Boolean Blues” is psychedelic and mathematical all once. Starting with the pulsing and surprisingly catchy “Shut Your Fucking Krout,” you are instantly sucked in as a listener. The revolving synth melodies are in your face, never trying to hide behind a veil of reverb of fuzz. “Catshit and Sandalwood” works as two separate tracks, conjoined at birth and held together through piercing synthetic bleeps. Again, there’s a softness and melody here that hook you straight off, but the heavy doses of electronic mayhem that go along with it are what keep things uneasy. It’s like a warning bell going off so often you have no idea if there’s hell on the way. That feeling comes to a head on the centerpiece, “Swat Valley Driver.” This is where the psychedelia really kicks in. After a methodic exercise in control backed by a minimal, analog beat, you are greeted with heavy Indian influences. No, of course there’s no sitars or tanpuras, but Hanson twists his synth into spitting out racing analog ragas. It’s fucking exquisite, all the while backed by black bass lines. “Peace in Sumeria” continues the theme but moves a little bit West, getting lost in translation all the way. What is perhaps most amazing about “Boolean Blues” is that even though at its heart it’s a synth album, wholly electronic, it feels like so much more. It’s full of warm tones and rich visions. It’s a trip in every sense of the word.
Edition of 500 in gatefold jackets printed by Stumptown, designed by Brad Rose.