Bass…how low can you go? The question may have been posed in the hip-hop arena, but the answer has been furnished most definitively by this monomaniacal bass/drums (plus distorted screaming) duo from North Dakota that based itself in Olympia, Washington. Employing outsized amplifiers and monstrously scaled kettle and bass drums — snares are strictly for lightweights — Mike Kunka and Dan Haugh create the most filling-loosening experience this side of that scrapped Go Two Rounds With Mike Tyson theme-park ride.
Following a sonically unprepossessing (and technically unsuitable) introductory blast on the 7-inch Thee Friendship Village four-songer, The Scientific Supercake does a pretty nifty job of testing, if not ravaging, the low-end response of any stereo system you’d care to try it out on. (In any case, home alone is no match for the duo’s grueling live show.) Surprisingly enough, the album also reveals a sly sense of humor at play in the anti-music godheadSilo (and producer/ex-Melvin Joe Preston) stamps into the grooves. “Songs” like “Two Peanuts Are Walking Down the Street” and “I Love U…nicorns” bring to mind the audio experimentations of visual artists like Kurt Schwitters — if he were a skate-punk, of course.
Elephantitus of the Night doesn’t flow quite as well, largely because half of it comes from compilations and earlier singles (including all of Friendship Village, which gets its points across far more forcefully here). Nevertheless, the collection has its moments: “Multiple Organic” boasts a cheesy techno sheen that would do Kraftwerk proud, while the sample-loaded “Master of Balance” lopes along almost amiably. It doesn’t get any lower than this.
Skyward in Triumph trades the duo’s attack-dog assault for lap-dog friendliness and, surprisingly enough, makes the transition without sacrificing much of its personality. At first listen, the sound is as jarring as ever, but the shiny happy structures that reveal themselves on subsequent spins cast godheadSilo as a pair of goofily precocious popsmiths who could pass for a (slightly) evil twin to the Spinanes. Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening sings on the title track.