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The Present: World I See

The Present: World I See

Release Date:2008

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 10/29/2008

If you weren't aware that New York producer/musician Rusty Santos had helmed discs from all manner of New Weird American outfits--White Magic, Born Ruffians, Panda Bear, and Animal Collective among them--World I See, the debut from his the Present project, might register as more of an avant-pop ape than it actually is. With bandmates/pals Jesse Lee and Mina in tow, Santos plants an enchanted improvisational forest with little in the way of floors; to colonize this World is to surrender to a glorious, pulse-pounding sense of free fall.

The title track builds from whumps, cymbal jostling, and ominous synth buzz into a tornadic Lazy Susan spin of shredded, dizzy vocalisms and drift before winding down into a drizzled-piano-and-angelic-choir Eden. "Africanized Beatniks" opens as a swelling swarm of overlapped finger snaps and piping, synthesized utterances, which is then manipulated into an overture of crackling before being overcome by a guitar-vs.-piano duel that recalls Godspeed You Black Emperor's lighter moments; the proceedings become more simultaneously turbulent and blissful from there.

Epic "Heavens on Ice" blisters almost imperceptibly from mossy static to clumped-drum, glow-riff iridescence to overpressurized tribalist syrup to near silence to subterranean electronic noise--and that's just its first six minutes. As a whole, World I See is almost stubbornly difficult to process; so much textural shimmer is on display and so many moving parts are constantly a-flutter that pat summation is all but impossible. The Present so floods the sonic field with aural imagery that you can't help but stay rooted, well, in the trio's vividly present moment.

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