The Eternals: High Anxiety

High anxiety indeed. As if the Chicago experimental trio of Wayne Montana, Tim Mulvenna, and Damon Locks needs any help upping the warped ante, this stopgap of remixes and new material (the group's presently preparing its third full-length for a fall release) features contributions from Prefuse 73, A Grape Dope, Exercise Tiger, and Birthmark, all of whom stretch the group's bizarre blend of punk, dub, funk, rock, and hip-hop into even stranger shapes.

The guests first: A Grape Dope (Tortoise drummer John Herndon) opens the EP with a noirish, spy thriller take on “Hi Anxiety,” couching Damon Locks' fractured vocal in a dirty, vibes-fueled gumbo mix. Prefuse 73 (Scott Herren) transforms “Black Nuclear Power Bonus Beats” into a stereotypically dense sample collage underscored by funked-up breakbeats while a bold marriage of organ flourishes, ‘80s hip-hop and dub breaks, and vocal chants makes “Exercise Tiger Vs. The Eternals” as funky as it is tight.

The group itself drops a few new tracks in amongst the remixes: “Silhouette,” where Spanish guitar and gentle harmonies sprinkle over an echoey dub groove, and “Billions of People,” with its decidedly unfunky vocal by Locks. Nice to see the group includes instrumentals too, like the clanking space outing “Right to Revenge” and the driving dub-funk “By This Time Today.” High Anxiety's as wild and weird as one might expect.

April 2006