Travel Themes 7”
This 45 arrived sandwiched between a sleeve made from a map of Brazil and Africa with a skull hovering over a pair of hairy legs in pink—the slightly uneven sides where scissors had cut along the western border of Chile and Madagascar were a personal, handcrafted touch. Collapsible Mammals is a mish-mash of sampling and what sounds like a spontaneous approach to instrumentation. They’re adept at creating soundscapes that appear to border the haphazard and strange. A member of OJO, head-mammal Chris Avitabile has been creating piecey “soundtrack-like” jams like these since 2006, after he returned inspired from his own travels to put his odd collection of instruments and records to use. Travel Themes, his third such labors of love and experimentation under the Collapsible Mammals banner, is a perfectly titled release, evoking exotic journeys, mutation, and mechanical whirring. In it, you can hear Avitabile’s affinity for hip hop with some thrown-in bits of noise and a lounge-like feel. It makes for excellent late-night adventure music because it has a particular background-music laxness and a contempt for the predictable. The tracks are simply titled “Travel Theme 1” and “2.” “Travel Theme 1” has a spacey throb laid over an almost too-simplistic drum machine, and then gradually earns your interest. I found the second “Travel Theme” to be more interesting, with its components coming together in an improved and natural approach to modern elevator music.