Wonderland by Pogo

7 July 2019

Sampling is a debated topic and will likely continue to be debated for years to come. Wonderland, among other plunderphonics masterpieces like Since I Left You, will hopefully be used as an example of the kind of art that can only be achieved with sampling.

Wonderland is a perfect example of timing. In “Unbirthday”, gusty breaths sync perfectly with vocal samples and butter-smooth beats. Almost any other artist using gusts as a fundamental part of the skeleton of a song would find themselves creating a very scary or at least unnatural sounding song, but Pogo does it in a flowing and free fashion. The EP as a whole is also very well-timed; the flow from “Unbirthday” and “Lost” is a little unsettling, but otherwise it all feels natural, from the tired, recently awoken feeling of “Alice” to the final well-placed echo at the conclusion of “Bread And Butterflies.”

The film “Alice In Wonderland” is a classic, but Pogo doesn’t come across as arrogant, attention-seeking, or even foolhardy for using such a revered source.

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(see Mouth Silence, Neil Cicierega) Rather, he captures the film’s dreamy, unreal, tired feeling perfectly. Vocal samples are arranged in such a fashion that very little quite makes sense, although it feels like you’re almost getting it, just like the rabbit hole. The arrangements feel dazed and lazy but were obviously highly meticulously arranged. Ideas are repeated just enough to feel a vague sense of deja vu but not enough to feel overly repetitive. This release feels like the soundtrack that should have been, even though it is much more of a main feature than the background sounds soundtracks normally are.

Wonderland could be described as a dream, but this wouldn’t exactly be accurate. Rather, it is the rare moment when you have become aware that you are falling asleep. You notice strange things going through your head at frantic paces, but you don’t really seem to mind too much. You feel funny, but you’re perfectly content with that. Somehow, your mind keeps moving around and around with different thoughts – the opposite of boredom. Nothing actually is logical but that’s totally alright with you – you definitely want more. So go ahead. Fall asleep. Listen to Wonderland. Jump into the rabbit hole.

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