Experimental electronica ensemble, Bubba Fontaine, is a constant revolving door of musicians, but no matter what, Bubba Fontanine will always remain the visionary backbone of it all. For this new album, Peppermint Chocolate, which is co-credited to UltraVolt, he and bassist Nate Gray have taken an hour-plus-long improvisational (and fully instrumental) jam and put it in album format. It’s the kind of music that relies heavily on abstract sounds and maybe even takes a musique concrete-like approach. Peppermint Chocolate was recorded, mixed and mastered at SquidKing Productions in Zionsville, IN.
Fontanine’s Bandcamp page features all sorts of genre tags, from “experimental” and “electronic music” to “noise ambient,” “psychedelic” and “synthwave.” Furthermore, his list of musical influences for the new album includes Amon Tobin, Coil and Throbbing Gristle. His tastes are quite diverse, and I believe that the improvisational feel to this record will reel certain people into the blissfully weird universe of Bubba Fontaine.
“Goey on the Inside” marks the beginning of their improv jam session. It features ambient white noise alongside percussive instruments that ramp up in intensity as the track progresses. While I was hoping for something a bit more chaotic and industrial, I nonetheless found this to be a neat composition. Drum machines, synthesizers and samplers are utilized throughout the entirety of this LP, to be fair, but “Goey on the Inside” incorporates them to the best effect.
“Broken Teeth” dances with electro flourishes and IDM-reminiscent crackles and pops, much like the experimental music duo, Matmos. Depending on where you’re at in this 11-minutes-long odyssey, it can be either unnerving or relaxing. By the time you get to “Fat Kid in a Pneumatic Tube,” synthesizers take on a more melodic form. The title seems quite fitting to me in that this song is like that personified-- you have the squelching “fat kid” synth being propelled by a smoother “pneumatic tube” beat. Words cannot do this number justice, but that’s sort of the feeling I get from it.
The ending of Peppermint Chocolate may just be the most conventional of all. “The 29 Inch Chicken Has Arrived” dabbles in jazz and features electric guitar. I think this will be the instrumental that I’ll come back to most often. The way that the bass and guitar ride the funky drum groove is richer than everything prior. It also reminds me of Incubus. Make of that what you will.
Improvisational jamming sessions are not usually my forte, I must admit. However, Bubba Fontaine livens it up a bit by subverting expectations. It’s experimental, electronically composed music that isn’t afraid to be too avant-garde. Recommended.
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