Imperium Droop gloriously rolls off the tongue. When you bring together two artists like Mouse on Mars’ Jan St. Werner and Oneida’s Kid Millions (among so many other things – but my brain will always make that association first), something unexpected and magical is bound to happen and that’s absolutely the case with the Imperium Droop. When Werner’s rose-tinted drones calmly filter in on album opener, “Color Bagpipes,” it’s a bait-and-switch. Just when the vibe is settling down, BOOM! Millions blasts in like a lightspeed crime syndicate. Werner and Millions chase each other through faded corridors, alternating who is in front and making way when Mats Gustafsson shows up to blow the whole thing into the ground. It’s utterly purifying.
Alien probes light the night sky in flashing neon, sealing off a wormhole to the outer rim with Millions’ frenetic explosions. “Hexaco Inversion” groans under the percussive weight, Werner playing it cool until the midpoint when sonic glass shards start flying. There’s a stop-start crystalline section that’s angular and hypnotic, driving home the idea that this music is not of this world. “Nuclei Melodies” picks up that baton with grinding oscillators foiled by Gustafsson’s sax blasts. It’s one hell of a caustic ride.
Textures continually multiply throughout Imperial Droop as though Werner is constantly moving through a particle accelerator and splitting into multiples of himself. It’s incredible. From the gloopy bleeps of “Sorrows and Compensations” to the heavy ambiance on “Dark Tetrad” and “Apotropaic” getting into gnashing saw blades, it’s incredible how deep and wide his arsenal stretches. Conversely, part of what makes Kid Millions such a great drummer is his ability to take on anything, adapting and driving the narrative forward when needed.
One thing, above all else, Imperium Droop makes clear is that Kid Millions and Jan St. Werner have their own musical language and use it to create unique, viscous sound worlds. When others find their way into the fold, like Gustafsson, the duo augments reality and creates space that adds to this wild, invigorating aural expression. Imperium Droop is odd, at times perplexing, but wholly rewarding once the holistic infection takes hold and gets ridden across uncharted space.
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