Lavender Ticklesoft: Oracles of Dimensions

The month's most idiosyncratic release has to be Oracles of Dimensions, a mystic “co-production” by Lavender Ticklesoft and the better-known Akello Light (Richard Leak, a North Carolina native who issued Green Tea Mint on Inner Current a while ago). Created using a digital 8-track recorder, the ethereal collection, whose concept concerns a human being accepting death and then ascending to new heights of spiritual awareness, might be summed up as left-field, space-age head-nod filled with sparkling keyboard melodies, tinged with soul and jazz flavour, and overlaid with Lavender's off-kilter rhymes.

It's a curious project in at least two regards: averaging two minutes apiece, the release's ten downtempo tracks weigh in at approximately twenty minutes; and every one of the slow-moving tracks features a laconically drawled voiceover, with the words—stream-of-consciousness musings—delivered in an uninterrupted and sometimes multi-layered form. In some cases (for example, “Nows-Later Exchanged,”  where the gentle refrain “the way you touch me” contrasts sharply with the track's beat clangour) soulful vocalizing (at times in a style reminscent of Cameo's Larry Blackmon) appears but it's clearly secondary to the speechifying. Certain tracks (such as “Venus Sleepover”) get a boost from the swing and snap of hip-hop beats, while the appropriately tripped-out head-spinner “Hippie Chicks” nicely augments its vocal drawl and beat snap with drifting flute accents. Though over quickly, Oracles of Dimensions sticks in one's memory, in large part due to its oddball character. I can't recall having heard anything quite like it before.

November 2009