“Last Glacial Maximum”

Release Info
PPM92. Black vinyl. Full color printed covers. 11x11 double sided Risograph insert. Edition of 400.

Last Glacial Maximum is the debut full length from Dream_Mega, the recording project of Los Angeles-based artist/musician Joel Kyack. Across six songs, the album unfolds like a set of auditory hallucinations that are at once alien, funereal, triumphant, and life-affirming. Situated somewhere between the lysergic bedroom crunk of Black Zone Myth Chant’s “Straight Cassette,” the fourth world punk sensibilities of Sublime Frequencies and Glitterbeat Records, and the homespun terror of early Hanson Records, Dream_Mega’s sound is something entirelynew—like Terry Riley doing Cro Mags covers using Uncle Sleazy’s gear, or God making a trap record.

The album’s opener, “Cost of the Feast,” sets the tone with a sublime mix of opiated flutes and synths, an Apache beat slowed down to around 8bpm, and vocals that may well be delivered by the floating head from Zardoz, coming down from a hellacious ayahuasca bender. The album’s climax occurs in the title track, all eight and a half minutes of terrifying drones, howls, and a percussive beatdown that most closely resembles the drumming style Kyack has refined in some of the best American Freak Rock outfits of the last 300 years (see: the end-of-HC-as-we-know-it fuckery of Providence, RI’s Landed for a prime example). I have no idea what this song is about, and I don’t care to know: it sounds and feels like Fitzcarraldo—if the mountain in Fitzcarraldo had a lot to say about what was going on all around it, that is—and that’s enough for me.

They may not provide many answers, but the lyrics are a real strength of the album, which is no small feat considering they are delivered cloaked in effects such that they drip out of the speakers. The messages contained in these songs feel like a throughline to the eternal mysteries—what we are doing here, what and who is essential for survival, what it means to “live,” and perhaps above all, how to find joy when merely surviving isn’t enough. When the Stoned God of “Cost of the Feast” commands the listener to “decide right here what you can live with and without,” the stakes feel like they couldn’t be higher, as if survival itself is at stake—but whose survival, and at what price? Like such uneasy questions, the album has a circular flow: when listened to on as repeat it ends and begins again seamlessly, like an ouroboros continuing its conversation with the eternal drone.

Last Glacial Maximum signals a welcome addition to a chorus of fellow explorers (the Demdike/Modern Love axis, Forest Swords, BZMC, Avon Terror Corps, FM/Black Dice and Trip Metal crews all come to mind) who provide a much-needed salve against the tide of endless Supermarket Ambient and Tired Rock. It is the rare document that manages to capture what this time in human civilization feels like: confusion and fear, wonderment and beauty, a tenuous balance between the desire to live and thrive and the desire for oblivion.

1. Cost Of The Feast
2. Serrated Knife
3. Ghost Lineage
4. Bathed In Piss
5. Last Glacial Maximum
6. Night Salad

Sample Track