Triskele Music Releases

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Argaman - Living in a Bubble (Fairytales Records)
*review by Edensounds
Fairytales Records


“I’d definitely like to try some of what he’s had, only probably not quite as much of it.”

When I first discovered Argaman  I was in a strange DJ’ing space, with regular gigs split between traditional Psychedelic Chill Out rooms and the folk/ gypsy/ska styles more closely resonant with the Balkan and Folk music scenes. Yeah, I know. As unlikely a contrast as it sounds I was looking for new material to bridge this gap and what was even more unlikely was that I found it. Argaman’s  2009 epic ‘My Little Forest’  had exactly the  ‘ooompah-to-doof’ ratio I was looking for. It spawned a number of really solid tracks including; ‘LSDing Camping’, ‘You Will See’, ‘The Old Times’, ‘It’s Not For Money’ and ‘The New Vibe (Twisted Parody)’.


As is the nature of these things, I rinsed this material out quite rapidly on the DJ circuit where it was met with responses ranging from ever-so-slightly- bemused to ‘touched by the hand of genius’-  which is just how I like things. Because of my haste I spent much of the last three years waiting for a new release to move the game on and it’s finally here- Argaman’s 2xCD (22-track) epic, ‘Living In A Bubble’, conveniently separated into ‘Night’ and ‘Day’.  It must be difficult being a true musical pioneer. To a certain extent that’s easy when you’re creating something completely innovative but to follow that up is much harder because it requires a blend of the old and something new to keep pushing creativity forwards. The curse of the composer is to have to make sense out of this strange language going on in their head so that other people can hear what they have to say and also to have something new to say. The genius of the composer lies in succeeding.

Argaman starts his journey at Night with ‘The Torch’, which starts out in much the same vein as you’d expect from an album in the psychedelic territory- a gentle, wobbly pre-amble that lets you know it’s going somewhere but hasn’t quite decided where yet. Around the 3-minute mark the intonation subtly changes and before you realise it you’re in the company of a Philharmonic orchestra setting score for a movie.  Just as you’re about to settle into this change of tone the album collapses into track 2 which offers brief samples of the opening to ‘My Little Forest’ before soaring off into the kind of moody guitar ballad that will twist the melons of any fan of spaghetti westerns or even The Shadows! Track 3- the eponymous ‘Living In A Bubble’- is the first of a handful of vocal tracks and one which makes you feel you’re really ‘in-touch’ with how it feels to be cursed as a composer. Well done Argaman! Track 4 takes us straight back to a slice of the debut album ‘My Little Forest’. If Tim Burton ever did the Brothers Grimm he would certainly be coming here for musical inspiration.  Track 5- ‘The Jewish Robot’- gives a twisted take on the future sound of Israel before lurching into track 6, a bizarre fusion of dubby electronics and trad Jazz.  If I used the metaphor ‘Tom Waits does acid’ you’d probably just about catch my drift... Even though I’m pretty sure Tom Waits would prefer to do his own acid.  Track seven wanders edgily around the neighbourhood known as Dystopian Ambience, precluding the second vocal track on the album- ‘Never Ending’- a beautiful male/female harmonic duet with subtle melodic interplays and just the right amount of squelchy-ness to let you know you’re still in the mind of a twisted genius. Track 10 throws us into yet another flashback to the debut album, tinged with shades of Walt Disney’s seminal ‘Fantazia’.  Track 11- ‘When the Sun Came Out’ is, well, quite frankly, both wonky and wrong. But not in a bad way you understand. Probably best to clear any of your mates who’ve just consumed a heroic dose of psychedelics out of the room before it comes on is all I’m saying.  Then to the final track of the CD- ‘The Silence’ v.2. After the twists and turns of the preceding hour you suddenly grind to a halt here, in an uber- ambient, somewhat sterile landscape. As ends to a CD go it’s disappointing to say the least... Until you remember that this is a 2CD journey and that what you have here is a perfect opportunity to make the tea and put papers together. Well done Argaman. You thought of everything.


CD2 is Argaman’s journey by Day opens gently and with lots of bubbles, ‘Leaving The Forest’, which is another salute to the debut album ‘My Little Forest’. Track 2 continues to explore the theme but with added wonk and one of the most chaotic breakdowns you’ll ever hear. Track 3- ‘raise The Sail Old Man’- is exactly the sort of sound you’d expect to hear from a collaboration between children’s television and two grams of ketamine. 'Life In Pocket’ slowly cranks up the pace and intensity, veering off towards some very obvious SKA influences. By the 16th track of this 2-CD album it becomes clear that you’re going to run out of metaphors and superlatives to describe it pretty soon. This is balls-out different with so many levels, layers and nuances at play it becomes hard to focus on anything in the swirl. Suddenly there is a new standard, and psychedelic stalwarts Shpongle have to step up to it! Track 17- ‘Walk On Your Way’- breaks down into glorious female vocals before swirling off into the electronic ether once again. ‘Flowers In The Desert’ picks up the pace again, a heady mix of repetitive sonar clicks, soaring euphoniums and an assortment of goblins squeaking and grunting away in the background. Track 19 gets some real shoe-shuffling rhythms laid down but this is Argaman’s day and his day is quite dark. Shit! Whoa! WTF was that noise! Ok hang on, we’re back in the room... No we’re not. Someone help me. I’m trapped in a dysfunctional fairground ride... Track 20- 'Dream Come Through’- makes it clear you’re off the ride but still stuck in the theme park.. Somehow you’ve blundered into the hall of mirrors just as some cartoon cat has come bounding along to further fuck with your already frail state of mind. On the home strait, ‘Pink Love Is All Around’ suddenly scoops you up into a beautiful electronic drum swirl. It’s OK. The drugs are wearing off. What do you mean, you haven’t taken any drugs?


And there, in a nutshell, Is Argaman’s ‘Living In A Bubble’. Expect different on a scale you didn’t think was possible before and you’re half way to getting it. If you don’t get it, come back again in 10 years time, when your present has caught up with his future. With over 2 hours to cover on this musical escapade it’s well worth getting the mushrooms out of the cupboard. Damn, I knew there was something I’d forgotten to do...

 Graham Edensounds

Related Links:

Argaman | Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | YouTube | MySpace |
Triskele Management | Website | Facebook | Soundcloud|