Label: Marriage Records Release date: 15/06/10 Link: Official Site Wikipedia's article on Ariel Pink mentions that listeners confuse the era of his music, a statement that is not only a little hyperbolic in approach but a valid assessment of the shit-fi expected from Pink. Similarly, the latest project from Portland wundermeister Adam Forkner, We Like Cats is paradoxically anachronistic, blurring modern machines with '70s era King Tubby recording fidelity. Sure the hype is that White Rainbow is with experimental heavyweight Inca Ore and his partner, Valet, and that they're making vintage dub reggae...about cats, but sticking to that taints the band with the air of being a throw-away. A man of concepts, Forkner mans the helm as more of a producer and beat maker (not conductor) and manages to make an otherwise ridiculous project into a hugely enjoyable trip. From the first ten seconds, you can see where this is going. Rob Walmart-style synths, heavy dub delay, Dilla sirens, and King Tubby drops mix with vocals from both female vocalists. Everything is murky, enveloped in an air of oppressive heat and thick weed smoke (despite the lack of drugs within the band), and the darkness gives the feel of a bunch of modern remixes of old vocal snips. Only the Casiotone drums and synthesizers give away the relatively new vintage of 2009, but when you have thick bass and degraded tape sounds over everything you don’t mind it. Hell, when taken at face value this album seems to be a backlash against the ambient and experimental that all three artists are known for. The closest Forkner’s come to this has been a few tracks on his [[[[VVRSSNN]]]] album on K, and Valet’s a cappella cover of ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ shows some minor lineage to the often wailed vocals. Also given that it is as far removed from typical dub lyrically, Proper Eats seems like a modus operandi for furthering a hilarious plan: to rep an organic foods store in Portland while talking about cats. On ‘No Ordinary Dub,’ the first sounds are simple spoken words: “Shout out to Proper Eats cats, cats that are hungry and want some pineapple meat. Cats that need to scratch things and make some loud noises, hungry cats needing proper eats, needing fruit to fall from the tree.” A short Google search reveals that Proper Eats is a hugely affordable organic produce store in the Portland, Oregon area, highly regarded and perfectly in line with the stereotypical audience for this dubbed out funfest. Each song seems to be some elaborate yet all too well constructed in-joke that belies the actual music within. Much like how Forkner’s Rob Walmart project seems like a huge in-joke between himself and the rest of the band, We Like Cats appears to stop being serious when Honey Owens says things like “rainbow slam dunks” in relation to felines, instead turning the entire album on its ear with one 12’30” song. Sure the press release stands by the seriousness of it all (with hyperbole akin to the back cover of Prism Of Eternal Now’s Dr. Bronner-esque rant), full of all caps runs that indicate the band’s belief in space cats and organic markets with a touch of Time Cube writing ethos minus the xenophobia, mental illness, and misanthropy. After listening to Proper Eats for nigh on three weeks, and trying to analyze as best I could, all I can say is it is a fun record for hot days, a fun record for slow nights, a fun record for fun’s sake. While the mid-fi and excessive track lengths are all too dub, the entire disc knows it and shows a true love of the genre. No second appears to be frittered, instead letting endless echoes fill the gaps between notes to create a dense sea of Cats. Shout out to these Proper Eats Cats. Photobucket