Record #325: Flying Saucer Attack – Further (1995)

Cryptograms has always been my favorite Deerhunter record–especially the first side, with its swirling ambience occasionally giving way to a more straightforward pop song. Curious then, that I did not immediately flock to Further when I first saw it name dropped in Pitchfork’s review the way I did to Echo and the Bunnymen (though that was probably for Microcastle…).
But the comparison is more than appropriate. Further might lack the full band clarity that Cryptograms falls into, but its whooshing, somnambulant atmosphere is cut from the same cloth, if not the cloth itself (after all, it was released thirteen years earlier).

​Acoustic guitars are woven through massive towers of delay and reverb, obscuring the vocals in the mix to the point where they are occasionally more of an additional texture than a verbal element. It is absent of percussion, except for “To the Shore,” the twelve minute standout of the album, which utilizes a galloping tom loop and arhythmic cymbal rush alongside a wash of single-chord guitar delay and feedback.

Though now twenty years old, Further is timeless, at once nostalgic and futuristic. Next to album and label information, the spine reads the phrase “HOME TAPING IS REINVENTING MUSIC,” which may not seem like a huge deal now, with Garageband preloaded onto every Macbook, ten years after Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s debut broke open the floodgates of self distribution on the internet, giving rise to the advent of free distribution services like Bandcamp.

But in the nineties, where bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, and even underground heroes Sonic Youth and Jawbox were relying on major labels to finance and distribute their music, a loud call for DIY ethics was a radical slogan as punk rock as anything Fugazi had to say on the subject, even if the music is about as un-punk as you can get.

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