On Bug Planet Is the Current Timeline, Gainesville, Florida’s Euglossine prove you just never know what he – or Hausu Mountain – are capable of.
Bug Planet Is the Current Timeline is about the least-obvious follow-up to the equally-excellent-but-radically-different Strawberries in Rain, an exquisite collection of airy, relaxing classical guitar compositions from earlier this year – with its lush, slushy N64 post-Vaporwave synths and ripped-apart club beats. Only Nostradamus could have seen that one emerging from last year’s Some Kind of Forever, though, with its mixture of polite ECM-style fusion jazz guitar and relaxing New Age synth meditations. When you pull back and take the longview, there is a throughline throughout Tristan Whitehill’s work, a preoccupation with blending lush, romantic melodies with intricate programming, which is then layered with varying degrees of ’80s and ’90s electronica.
That progression continues and accelerates on Bug Planet Is the Current Timeline, which goes even harder into the worldbuilding, leaving the polite Pat Metheny gloss and St. Elsewhere proto-digitalia even further behind in favor of a restless, relentless mixture of deconstructed club beats and 8-bit sound collage, post-dubstep bassweight and holographic Miami bass – sometimes in the same song. It’s like you fell asleep playing some shoot-em-up sidescroller circa 1993 about going to war with a race of intergalactic murder hornets and got sucked through the screen, Captain N: The Game Master style.
Bug Planet Is the Current Timeline strikes a peculiar balance between conceptual club anthems and ambitious menu music. Tracks like album opener “Fantasy Node” wouldn’t sound too terribly out of place on some adventurous dancefloors circa 2 am, with its glistening starshine synths and shuddering post-Autechre beats. Its follow-up, “Rain People,” sounds like some cleft-chinned prog sludge, on the other hand, like John McLaughlin laying down some sweet solos for a late-’70s segment about shooting stars and the possibilities of extraterrestrial intelligence.
Things shift rapidly, again on “Ice Gel,” one of the album’s standout moments, blending tasty, elegant tropical house with some moody techno efficiency, all of which are swallowed whole by a segment of kaleidoscopic late-’70s Berlin School trance, which settles into a pure, straight dancefloor banger in its final moments – all throbbing low-end and icy drum machines. “Teratorn” and “Salt” are similarly dancefloor friendly, with their ponderous 2-step beats and growling post-dubstep sub-bass, although “Salt” ends up getting fed through the woodchipper, spewing out a bloody chiptune confetti of convalescing beats before settling back into a straightforward house groove, albeit one laced with some groovy sitar psychedelia.
There’s something for every form of electronic music fanatic on Bug Planet for those adventurous enough to look for it. The sheer pace of fluctuation alone means that only a select audience will take the time to appreciate the breadth of its imagination, its skillful execution, its pristine production. It’s a vindication of New Age and fusion jazz utopianism as well as post-Vaporwave nostalgia and worldbuilding. It’s just more proof you simply don’t know what you’re going to get when you dial up a Hausu Mountain album, and that Euglossine is capable of anything.
Bug Planet Is the Current Timeline is available now on CD, cassette, and as a digital download from Hausu Mountain.