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Places beyond the stars

MC Tonguedancer brings Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue to Olympia

MC Tonguedancer and his fellow intergalactic travelers. Photo credit:

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Boy, there sure was a time when musicians were totally obsessed with outer space, wasn't there? The obsession roughly began in the ‘60s with the advent of psychedelic music, giving us legit weirdos ? and the Mysterians and Sun Ra - two people who may or may not have actually believed that they really were from outer space - and going through the ‘70s, when the space explorer aesthetic was little more than a fashion statement. Similarly, MC Tonguedancer - collaborating with electronic duo Unisex Starship and a bevy of other musicians - has created Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue, a sprawling album of shapeshifting hip hop, electro-pop, and psychedelic whimsy. Like Critte and the Borzoi's work, Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue is expanded into the visual medium through a 32-page book featuring illustrations from comic book artist Chris Johnson.

Though the album is separated into 14 parts (over the course of 16 tracks, with intro and epilogue) with mouthfuls of titles like "Part 6: At Play In The Rings of Saturn, And On Past, Where Dead Souls Await/Through The Wormhole, Hyperspace," there's not much of a sense that any sort of cohesive story was planned out by MC Tonguedancer, the stage name of Eliot Klein. Klein wrote the story and lyrics for Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue, but the music was the result of improvised recording sessions from Unisex Starship. The music was then embellished in production from a wide array of guest musicians.

Despite this mishmash of contributors and improvisational tracks, it all feels of a piece, especially thanks to Klein expertly fitting his raps to whatever musical style is called for. While the idea of the concept album with chapters and allusions to traveling to places beyond our comprehension may sound a little daunting, the album is less concerned with the true scope of its lyrics than it is with musical experimentation and making that experimentation sound effortless.

In a live setting, as it will be presented by MC Tonguedancer at Le Voyeur, Dreams in Cryogenic Fugue (and if you think I'll ever get tired of the goofiness of that title, you're wrong) is accompanied by video collages, numerous costumes, and dancers, to help bring to life the ludicrous, confounding story that the album essentially shouts as it sprints past you in a swirling electronic cloud.

MC Tonguedancer w/ DL Murray, Compliment, Tuesday, June 21, 10 p.m., Cover TBA, Le Voyeur, 404 E. 4th Ave, Olympia, 360.943.5710

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