Listen: Neat Beats, ‘Cosmic Surgery’ (2011)

For a musicophile, finding fresh music can become a chore. I often get in the lazy habit of returning to the same handful of websites or sources, and often times the biggest music websites aren’t about sharing music so much as reporting it. 

That’s why I love Poking Smot–there’s no fluff, just album art and songs posted from all across the sonic spectrum (“Expect anything from Chopin to Bowie to Vampire Weekend,” reads their About section).

And it was on Poking Smot that I found Cosmic Surgery, a 13-track album released last year by San Diego trip-hop act Neat Beats. Opener “Graffiti On A Tuesday Night” is a highlight. Samples of pick-up lines from a “learn French!” tape make the first part of the track special, but loops of strings and finger-picked guitar begin its ascension to another realm. The way different of the instrumental are constantly morphing and weaving about one another provide for a truly dream-like feel.

This feel carries into the rest of the album, with gorgeous effect. Cosmic Surgery is like being half-awake, half-drugged in the cockpit of a spaceship on cruise control, hurtling through the galaxy: it’s both sedative and kinetic. Fittingly, it closes with an unlikely blend of sentimental piano and explosive percussion with “I hope I’m thinking of bike riding when I’m dying.” 

Other highlights include the shifty “…I miss you so much (parts 1, 2 & 3)”, “This Machine Destroys Everything”, and the well-titled “Video Game Characters.”

You can buy Cosmic Surgery on the Neat Beats bandcamp, where they’ve got a digital download + vinyl package for $12 (highway robbery for vinyl, especially when only 500 copies exist!). Enjoy!