It’s ironic that Toronto’s Doldrums (a.k.a. Airick Woodhead) borrowed his alias from Norton Juster’s classic children’s novel The Phantom Tollbooth. As you may recall from the book, the Doldrums is a land populated by the Lethargarians, a blissfully blasé breed who live on a steady diet of nothing: daydreaming, dawdling, napping, lingering, procrastination — pretty much anything idle, as long as it entails no thinking or laughing. Doldrums’ music, on the other hand, is all thinking and laughing, although there’s plenty of daydreaming thrown into the mix.
His forthcoming debut album, Lesser Evil, is a riot of color and hiccups and cowbells, of wonky time signatures and upended breakbeats, of sawtooth rainbows exploding into cotton-candy lightning bolts — a crazy quilt of the Beach Boys and Animal Collective and O.M.D. and Dan Deacon that’s been tie-dyed, batiked, beaded, bedazzled, and sliced up into ticker tape for good measure. There is never a dun patch or a dull moment in Doldrums’ music. A better name, in fact, might have been Chroma the Great, The Phantom Tollbooth‘s “conductor of color, maestro of pigment, and director of the entire spectrum,” who every night directs the orchestra as it plays the sunset, molding the air “like handfuls of soft clay.” That’s exactly what Woodhead does with his keyboards and samplers.
Given all that, Black Dice are a natural choice to remix Doldrums’ gloriously unnatural noise. “She Is the Wave,” featuring the Toronto producer Guy Dallas, is an explosion of circuit-bent trap-rave overlaid with balls-in-a-vice whooping and hollering. Black Dice’s remix halves the tempo, titty-twists an oscillator or two, and makes like Cabaret Voltaire in loincloths, all Technicolor tribal frug and numbers-station square dance; its bewildering outro is enough to shake The Phantom Tollbooth‘s twin kingdoms of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis to the ground.
Lesser Evil is out February 26 on Quebec’s Arbutus Records; check out Black Dice’s “She Is the Wave” remix below, toll-free.