Friday, June 15, 2007


Cryptooology (2004)
Skin Graft Records
St. Louis, MO

Cryptooology is not only one of the strangest and greatest albums in my collection, but it is also exists as some kind of bizarre historical achievement fulfilled on behalf of mankind. Seconds into this half-hour long CD may seem like an incomprehensible mess of clangy guitars and close-mic drums. But by record's end the listener may in fact conclude that Cryptooology was created under the rules of another sort of civilization, one vastly different than the one we're used to, the one that includes, let's say, the Nuge or Rivers Cuomo.

It may at first feel like some nonsensical, improv free-jazz, but you will discover upon dissection that it is actually very precise and very deliberate. There are definite structures to the songs, though none of them at all are immediately recognizable. The two guitars are coordinating in some way, but that way is possibly not musical. It seems beyond musical. Perhaps meta-musical. You might think at points that there is no logic to any of it, but keep at it and the drummer will assure you, he knows exactly what is happening. He is so dead-on and so precise that you feel embarrassed to have ever attempted to tap your foot to anything audible in your life.

After a few listens you really begin to think about how the three-piece went about writing this album. Crafting it part by part, and then piecing it all together seems like an enormous task, and for that alone Cryptooology is admirable. But the record also boasts some more important qualities. It really conveys such a sense of other-worldliness and appears so devoid of human fingerprints that it must be some sort of milestone of creativity for the sub-genre at least, if not music as a whole. Perhaps that is egregious flattery, but until some new record convinces me otherwise, Cryptooology is as creative as it gets.

Here is the first track:

And a Myspace page.


Alphonse said...

Truly OUTSTANDING album, full of odd time signatures and weird noises.

Tommy & Skyler said...

Most definitely one of my favorite math albums. Not only is the album weird, but their old guitarist has a secret underground rap group, wears FUBU shirts, and listens to none of the music he plays. And the other guitarist keeps one outfit always. He buys one each month and wears it for a month, throws it away, then buys a new one. Funny guys, really. New album is due late this year or early next year.

Louis Howe said...

I had heard that there was a new album planned, but was afraid it might only be rumors. In the last Skingraft news letter I recieved they had finally found a replacement guitarist for Jeremiah Wonsewitz, that was back in June or July. I can't imagine what their new material might sound like. Props on the blog, too. I'll definitely be dropping by regularly.