“The Monster Next Door” by Navigator Black
Navigator Black (also known as Alex Noftall) is one half of the experimental duo Navigator Black & The Indighost who will be kicking off the second night of Firm All-Stars at Distortion this evening (Friday, July 20th). Although Noftall and collaborator Paul Sheppard usually perform together, they each recorded separate RPM albums this past February.
Navigator Black’s record entitled Smile If You Masticate is an inventive mix of electronic experiments with loops, samples and synths. The album features some unique sound collages like the opener “You Are Going To Relax”, which plays like a self-hypnosis tape over the title screen theme from a Capcom SNES game. There’s also Kermit the Frog interviewing David Byrne set to swamp sounds on “I’ll Tell You Later”. More video game influences become apparent on tracks like “Drunken Bees”, and on the album’s title track, which feels as if it were taken from some tripped out Super Mario Bros lost level.
My favorite moments on Smile If You Masticate are when Alex actually sings over the sonic smorgasbords he’s created. For instance, “The Monster Next Door” and “Another Day Without You” kill with Alex sounding like a spacey Isaac Brock (of Modest Mouse) singing over a Nine Inch Nails bootleg recorded in a stadium bathroom. More great vocals are found floating atop a retro tropical pastiche of “National Geographic”. “Driving In A Loop” features some rapid fire synth, and “Black & Blue” stands out as a bit of an anomaly, closing the album with some stripped down harmonica blues.
You can listen to Navigator Black’s Smile If You Masticate for yourself at the link below. You can also check Navigator Black & The Indighost tonight at Distortion. They’ll be playing alongside DT & The Dinosaurs, Mopey Mumble Mouse, Mudflowers, Thee Internet, Colonel Craze & The Hunch, Drunks Rule This Place and, of course, Firm All-Stars numero uno, Be Alright.