Tuesday, 30 August 2011

All Grown Up

The Adults

Both interview and music are addled and strange, full of things you can’t quite comprehend, whether it be because of a lousy connection or because of what was running through Jon Toogood’s mind at the time – again, both during the interview, and the making of this strange, unusual record, the first from a New Zealand collective calling themselves, The Adults.  Toogood’s mind is a complicated beast and it moves in many different ways at one time; he slaps his head and things fall from within, his words scatter across international phone lines and his music bumps and grinds and slithers, digitally, and meshes and moans.  What does it mean?

I don’t know and I’m still undecided as to whether or not I like this record, its hodge-podge fodder for full-blown derision and scorn, and yet it seems to go a lot deeper than that, it’s more visceral than that, it bristles with something, and I don’t know if I’ve yet identified what that something is… does Jon Toogood know?  Do any of the myriad collaborators on this record know?  Fuck it, who cares?  This is music, the most primal of languages, of beings and states of mind, and so as it grew and morphed and postulated and cringed and whatever the hell else it did, it became music and ended up here, the baby of Shihad frontman, Jon Toogood – never, might I add, as you’ve seen nor heard him before.

“Oh, without a doubt,” he enthuses, for Jon Toogood never does anything unenthusiastically, whether it be writing his music, performing his music or talking about his music; this is a man you can certainly not accuse of being blasé.  “I mean, the whole thing is an experiment of throwing people together into different situations and music that they wouldn’t usually do.” 

The Adults, through the vehicle that is the collective’s eponymous debut, have created something that is, to put it lightly, not of the norm.  Amongst the kiwi luminaries Toogood has rounded up are the legendary Shayne Carter (Straightjacket Fits, Dimmer), all ‘round musical extraordinaire Tiki Taane (Salmonella Dub, Shapeshifter), hip hop soulster Ladi6 and Julia Deans (Fur Patrol) and yet you won’t find any deep dub on here, you won’t find any art rock, you won’t find any reggae or hip hop or metal or rock ‘n’ roll.  Although, and herein lies the hidden kicker, perhaps you’ll find them all, rolled into one ball of sonic sludge which has then been lovingly and abstractly re-moulded into something different.  Something electronic.  Something fuckin’ tectonic in its unstable condition which may or may not cause catastrophic results upstairs.

And, as do most things that raise eyebrows and cause heated discussion, it began as something quite different to how it ended up.  “Originally the idea was that I just had a surplus of music that I’d been writing by myself and I thought some of it would be good,” Toogood explains, “and I [originally] just wanted to get some of my friends to jam on it and see where it would go.  But I quickly discovered that writing something from scratch with these people – because they’re all smart as – was actually way more interesting.  So I don’t think I used one single thing that I’d written.

Samuel J. Fell

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