REVIEW: Montel Palmer – Catastropheland (2022)

Catastropheland, despite what its name suggests, instigates a state of dubbed out bliss. From the Cologne, Germany based trio Montel Palmer, Catastropheland is a lo-fi futuristic album full of post-apocalyptic minimal rhythms and tripped out, oil-slick synth ambience.

The album’s low fidelity recording wraps its contents in noisy warmth. Electronics percolate around bumping minimal synth bass lines while the occasional spoken vocal draws out in waves of delay. There’s a delightful degree of absurdity to it all, while still retaining an emotionally accessible tone.

Faintly reminding me of UK Hip-Hop group Strange U, Montel Palmer’s futuristic sound is simultaneously dystopian and relaxing. It’s not entirely uncommon to see people bemoaning our lack of ‘futurism’ as a sign of a dismal societal/global outlook, but perhaps what’s more telling is what we see in what little futurism we do have. It could be argued that ‘futurism’, as an artistic element or mode, could never accurately predict anything to come from the chaotic world we live in. But I believe an audience focusing on what futurism says about the future completely misses the point.

The future really is now.

For fans of: Bill Laswell, Meat Beat Manifesto, Ouxh,

Like Montel Palmer? Give these a listen: skintape, Strange U, Cindy

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