Each year, DiS asks our staff to vote for their albums of the year. Our editor vaguely tots up the 'votes' and then contrasts and compares this with what's been written about, as well as what has been talked about all year on our boards. DiS then ends up compiling some sort of year-end list, which attempts to approximately sum up the year that was. And then lotsa people object and moan about their favourite record not being at number one...
However, each and every year, there are records which slip through the cracks, that individuals who write for the site absolutely adore, yet few others seem to even be aware of. To help highlight a few lost records, a few years ago we invented the Lost List, and ask individuals to write some words explaining why they love the album in question. Next up, Bronya picks an extraordinary record which could easily have been in out top 75 albums of the year given a little more awareness...
Connan Mockasin Forever Dolphin Love
Connan Hosford seems to just be one of those people who soaks up music like a sponge; from a very young age he was exposed to music - his father was a guitarist - and he recorded his first song, Muesli, at five years of age. I'm not sure if that’s true because it’s actually quite consonant and well-constructed, which is 1) something quite hard for a small child to achieve, and 2) very unlike his music today. As a kid his parents seemingly gave Connan creative reign; he explains “when I was really young my mum got me a welder and just let me turn all the discarded pipes and rubbish on our property into a proper junk yard. I got really obsessed with carnival rides and ghost trains that folded up. Mum said a lot of the neighbours were a bit disgusted.” Jealous. Mockasin played ’60s and ’70s blues music from the age of ten, and after more than a decade of playing the same genre in several bands (the last being Connan and the Mockasins who were highly lauded by several critics), he decided to wipe the slate clean and start a new solo project, Connan Mockasin.
Hosford’s album, ‘Forever Dolphin Love’, retains his ’60s and ’70s influences in the way that it is heavily influenced by psychedelia, yet it is more alternative, niche even, than his preceding band, and less obviously nostalgic. Title track, ‘Forever Dolphin Love’, consists of dissonant drones and chromatic patterns on a squeaky clean keyboard, which sounds imaginably not unlike the one on which Mockasin composed his first song. Fading into a messy scribble of futuristic bleeps, the track fades into his vocals, muffled and high-pitched, accompanied by a more traditional guitar sequence. Although, Mockasin is only able to touch on the conventional; lyrics merely dipping in and out of what is essentially a collection of experimental musical ideas. Rare is it that you will hear any hint of a typical song structure on this album.
The concluding song, ‘Please Turn Me Into The Snat’, adopts a more familiar, consonant structure; it even has a chorus! Against a galloping drum beat, Mockasin squeals “oh when I retire I hope the snat suit fits me well,/ I want to be a hybrid with lovely memories”. The nonsensical lyrics seem to be mostly consistent throughout the record, fitting of Mockasin’s atypical instrumental style. Even though I don’t know what he’s talking about, I like listening to these imaginary words. It doesn’t seem to matter what the lyrics are, because Connan’s music just doesn’t make sense to the human ear anyway, which is a good thing. It’s fun. He’s like a siren, screeching away in his own bespoke, introverted language, making a sound that should repel us, but instead it draws us ever nearer.
Overall, ‘Forever Dolphin Love’ is without a doubt one of the most original albums to be released this year. Its dissonances, and the unconventional structure to Connan Mockasin’s songwriting, make the record a challenge to listen to. So schizophrenic is its sound that it takes a few plays to really get your head around the album. Once it floats around your ears during the first few spins, ‘Forever Dolphin Love’ becomes an intriguing listen, a really exciting record. I have many personalised mental categories of music, and immediately when I first listened to this record more than half a year ago, I grouped it with releases from the likes of Micachu and Bjork, music that is not necessarily the easiest to take in aurally but then therefore pushes you to listen to it in more depth. Stuff like this, it's great because it pushes the boundaries of convention and I feel that's what, if done well, can make a truly memorable creation.