Dallas Acid, The Spiral Ambience, (All Saints records)
How to describe Dallas Acid? Brian Eno if Roxy never took off and he was living in a trailer park taking impure LSD? New Age music stripped completely of the platitudes and yoga-studio soundtrack posturing that often drag down that particular genre? Beach House if the quiet guy on the synths was fully in charge? Tangerine Dream with no budget? Michael Gerner (best beard in the biz) Linda Beecroft (best bangs in the biz) and fellow bearded synth conjurer Christian Havins emerge from a south Austin low-rent alien moonscape with a completely bonkers analog synth called The Brain. It’s tough to stand out as a “star” within something as po-faced and anonymous as the ambient music scene, yet with their glammed-out photo shoots (Beecroft is a pretty well known and excellent photographer), junk store psychedelic stage props, and “hippie dropout on the fringes of the apocalypse” posturing Dallas Acid clearly stand out from the pack. It also helps that they seem to have been beamed in fully formed musically. Spiral Ambience is about as concise a mission statement as you’ll find for a first drop. Final track “The Enamel Sea” is a thing of lucid mystery and elusive beauty, with Beecroft cooing over a bed of pagan synths that slide in and out of the mix like snakes in tall grass. The slow buildup of “Ecological Succession” makes this one of the very few environmentally-minded tracks to actually be good. Somehow Dallas Acid avoid pretension, ducking the “new age” and “ambient” and “chill out” labels like deft featherweights. For such weighty music it’s all very accessible; for such technical proficiency it all sounds do-able; for such inner-leaning vibes it’s all very outward; and for such an anonymous genre it’s all very personality-based with Dallas Acid. This is mediation music aimed not at yoga studios populated by trust fund 30-somethings but at the real-deal lumpen hippie fringes, artists with no permanent addresses, on-up-the-country rural collectives, poets who wear their debt like a crown; the people in the most trouble during these times, souls fluttering in the ether, dangling one step over the void.