Sentry – Perfect Blue Bubbles

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We begin as one does, on a Sisyphean task to find Perfect Blue Bubbles.

Now as you can imagine, a search like this can take you practically anywhere at all; so where does one even begin when tasked with something of such magnitude? …

Anticipating a night-out with friends, you pry a slat of the blinds up with your finger, peeping out a window hoping to catch a glimpse of a guest, who should arrive any minute now. Giddy about the thrills that lie ahead; a crescendo to a tough week, you are ready for anything.

While boiling water for some tea, you look down into the kettle and observe bubbles violently transition into vapor. It’s here this moment while sitting cross legged on a couch, perception of time slows; this is where our myopic quest comes to light.

Thoughts drift toward the thin membranes from the kettle. Bubbles are thin spheres of liquid enclosing a gas; They form organic spherical shapes and cast reflections. The spherical shape combined with their reflective nature gives them a funhouse mirror effect. The distortions bulging in the centre begin fraying where the edge of perception once felt defined have now shifted and blurred. A polarization and maybe a metaphor for much of the current global climate?

At this point you have decided that you are in fact in the very bubbles you have been searching for. Limited gravity with forward propulsion gives a unique perspective; one that clarifies scenes that are way too complex to interpret on the ground. A machination of culture and vice, a conveyor belt traveling through the clubs, pubs, and sporting events, art galleries, and casinos.

We see right through to the guts of towers and industry, diving headlong onto a capitalistic ecosystem the pipeline of mined raw material through heavy industry all the way up to the corporate boardrooms and political luncheons.

We pause over a scene where scant street lamps barely illuminate our urban streets. Crusty with filth and debris, foreboding figures and forms loom in the periphery and can’t quite be made out. A dynamism keeps us focussed on our bubbles. Sentry bravely saunters into the foreboding vignette, you eagerly follow a confidence so pure. Nimble musicality, and deep warmth, quickly puts any unease at rest.

Sentry moulds audio into whatever material one can imagine, from sand to rubber and back again. Deftly shifting, tilting, transforming dread to funk. Pulling back the curtain like Toto, you see the machinery that keeps us on course in this very simulation. A lot of fun and just a tad dangerous.

Where I think Sentry may be leading us is to acknowledge that elephant in the room; Sure life can be heavy and in this digital-age feels like your space is being encroached upon by tech-giants and advertisers but, “Why so serious?” this is your life and your own set of perfect bubbles. Now let’s have some fun.

Album Review

We turn our attention today towards a Brooklyn “Mostly Electronic Cassette Label” upstart, Jollies. I’ve been paying attention to Jollies here and there throughout the past couple of years, as the label has slowly built a catalog of vigorous brainy zones amongst visceral pleasure. African Ghost Valley and Geomag are both easy highlights. In the span of about 3 years, the label has logged on with 16 endeavors for the hi-fi, and Sentry’s Perfect Blue Bubbles might just take the cake for the premiere zone from the label to date.

Now Sentry is no first time caller, long time listener. The Sheffield, UK-based Jonathan George Fox has been releasing tapes under this moniker (amongst Aches, Foundling, j. Fox, and Power Therapy) for a bit, most often through his Flight Coda label. Perfect Blue Bubbles might as well be a prime entry way into Fox’s world of sounds. Ambient synths as a baseline for distinct club-oriented beats, hi-hats, and bass thumps. It’s not an earth-shattering template: “UBLVBLHD” is the platonic example, working as icy-clean four-on-the-floor that chills accordingly. Yet, this is definitively a rip-roaring good time, especially thanks to small left-turn details. You’ll notice that on your first go-around, where “Citiopolis” drops its rhythm out and lets the synths gently levitate until hi-hats are called back for a sudden dance floor bop; how “Boiler Person” keeps one foot tuned to an ethereal amalgamation of acid-house and another foot in abstract industrial-dance patterns, until it suddenly merges the two and a flood of zany, jammy gamer synths rush through; high BPM energy like “Donut 2″ that revive the fervor of an R&S 12” while maintaining those airy synthesizer melodies that keep your body gliding.

And that’s just the first side. In fact, I’d make a gander that Fox was using all that energy as build-up for a more abrasive “knock-you-on-yr-ass” back half clap back (at least the one minute Good Clean interlude suggests he could go even further). “Arc” thumps with a the quaking power of a giant. “Chance” follows building off those Arc drums, with a corroding liquid synth squiggle. “Is This Real?” isn’t a rhetorical question for Drew Daniel, it starts at a subterranean level and brilliantly moves it sound palette through murky and clear channels like yr traversing different soundproof chambers of a warehouse rave. A lot of this energy does culminate in Workcitipoly, which perpetually is going haywire with vocal samples, sudden synth cut outs, and the best THUMPS that four on the floor muster. It’s a rollicking finale, and there ain’t much more to say but that.

Limited edition tape with full color double sided j-card, professionally dubbed glitter cassette with body print, is available at the Flight Coda bandcamp pages
- Matty McPherson
Tabs Out
November 10, 2022