[sic] Magazine

Aaron Space & His Terrestrial Underlings – Fishland

Moon Glyph is neat little label usually peddling in New Age psychedelia, heady strains of out-there jazz creeping into the roster of late. Even still, Fishland is a bit of a leap for all concerned as the Portland-based Aaron Space (aka Elihu Knowles) has a straightforward soulful croon in his armoury and he’s very comfortable in making the most of it over poppy melodies.

His Terrestrial Underlings is also Knowles under his experimental electronic-producer guise though and, the yin to his smooth yang, he then utterly corrupts much of Space’s work with cutting-edge beats and all manner of FX. As the two worlds collide, we’re reminded in parts of that spell-binding ZekeUltra record we reviewed a couple of weeks ago; more often still we’re reminded of nothing at all however as Fishland is nothing if not unique.

Disembodied spoken samples thus come out of the æther like onboard AI. Fluttering orchestral tune-up nose-dives into crumpled repeats and swooping MIDI-string choruses. Pulses of distortion set about Knowles’s luxurious larynx in a most unseemly manner, slo-mo drum machine squaring off to classy piano. For such a busy palette, Fishland nevertheless remains spacious as so few of these elements overlap, which makes it all the more remarkable a listen.

Not satisfied there is still cross-channel TV interference to come, various chimes heralding a soap-opera flashback, not to mention loungy jazz-band improv and sultry sax. An aqueous drip and stutter just about coalesces into a beat of sorts for Knowles’s summery rap in “Stome Soup”, everything stripping back to cinematic singer-songwriting on the title-track. Knowles is a real musical chameleon, then evoking thoughts of someone like serpentwithfeet as he quivers to the heavens on the close mic’d, ASMR post-step of “You Are (What You Eat)”, pure Rufus Wainwright on the tricked-out “Fast (Slow)”, his nasal vocal pleadings held in absolute suspension. Think music’s all out of ideas these days? Think again.

~Fishland is released May 22nd 2020 via Moon Glyph