Agitated Atmosphere: No UFO’s – Soft Coast

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as No UFO’s.

Breaking through the DIY door is harder than it appears. Despite being in control of your music and message, new labels and artistic projects sprout by the hundreds daily. The World Wide Web has transformed music into a phenomenon beyond the scope of the originals; those who toiled tirelessly on back roads and highways to carve out a niche. Musical dissemination is now no more stressing than clicking a mouse and weeding through the minutia until a sound sticks out.

Nothing sticks out more at the moment than the work of Konrad Jandavs, a.k.a. No UFO’s. The Vancouver (B.C.) noisemaker is turning the traditional into the peculiar, cutting up classical tropes and pasting them together in wholly organic, though completely unusual, patterns. Soft Coast was Jandavs’ coming out party—a small run cassette that was quickly devoured by the ever-growing devotees to the emerging micro label movement. But Spectrum Spools has reissued Soft Coast on vinyl, allowing Jandavs’ opening salvo to reach a larger audience—and for that, we should all be most thankful.

Soft Coast may follow the clichéd path of throwing disparate musical ideas into lotto machine, pulling out fateful numbers to construct a winning combination from thin air. As effortless as Jandavs’ work seems upon first listen, Soft Coast is far more intricate without betraying its air of spontaneity. As different musical influences clash—often in the same song, sometimes in the same stanza—there’s also a begrudging truce to be found in the many styles of Soft Coast. Jagged guitar is snipped by spaced synth on opener “Evidence/Century Park.” Jandavs cranks up the kraut and the prog with “Untitled 1.” Garage and jazz knife it out under the hazy Cali sun within “00_00_2010.”

But the snippets in between Jandavs’ fully-formed ideas are most striking. Glimpses into the working mechanism are rarely given; Jandavs is willfully surrendering in the name of creativity. Soft Coast is a work of art, mashing up histrionics with futurisms. Kraut rhythms, galactic drones, punk guitar, modular melodies—it all boils down into a morass of eclecticism that always works no matter the atmosphere. Soft Coast is hybrid technology at its most artful, and though it won’t stop ozone depletion, it’ll help cut through the chemical imbalance of too many choices and not enough time.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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