Ripe & Majestic

Ripe & Majestic

by Tobacco


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Ripe & Majestic is a sprawling 24-track collection of outtakes and instrumentals from Tobacco, the leader of electronic psych-pop band Black Moth Super Rainbow. As with any release bearing the name of either entities, the music contained on this one is trippy, fuzzy, and lo-fi, with cruddy beatbox rhythms and spacy synth lines played on analog synthesizers and often recorded onto cassette tape for extra haziness. The main difference between this and most other Tobacco outings is that this one is almost entirely instrumental, with barely any of his trademark vocoderized warbling. Even without vocals, the synth melodies have such a recognizably Tobacco-sounding quality that the listener can often be fooled into thinking that he's singing. The collection is a scrapbook of beats and pieces from throughout Tobacco's solo career, which started with a 2007 DVD titled Fucked Up Friends, followed by the 2008 album of the same name. Some of these tracks originated from the DVD, as well as its 2010 sequel, while others originate from unfinished or canceled projects, or simply didn't make it onto one of Tobacco's proper albums. Additionally, roughly half of the tracks are instrumentals related to various remixes Tobacco completed, ranging from underground art-rap groups like Antipop Consortium and Restiform Bodies to José González's indie rock group Junip. Other than a tiny bit of "ahh"-ing on the tough, scuzzy "Eye Punch," the only track featuring vocals is the original mix of "Grape Aerosmith," one of two collaborations with Beck which appeared on 2010's Maniac Meat. While there's a tiny bit more of Beck's shimmering, manipulated vocal textures on this version, his personality doesn't dominate the track at all; he seems to function as merely a color in Tobacco's paint box. The tracks range from short fragments like the brief audio logo "Lawn Care Service" to more fully developed pieces like the gloriously strobe-like "Got Wet in the Bomb Shelter," but they all contain the rough, grainy quality and mixture of sugary melodies and creepiness that one would expect. Even given the context that these tracks are outtakes and instrumentals, the album flows well as a listening experience, only sounding a little less polished or accessible than his usual albums. Halfway between a beat tape and a vault-clearing, Ripe & Majestic is a very generous tray of confections which were slightly too oblong to fit onto Tobacco's already weird main platters.

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