[Album Review] The World Next Door- Shark Salad
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Release Date: November 17th, 2017
Label: Independent
The World Next Door (aka Scott Gray) quickly follows up his first album with (all Spinal Tap jokes aside) ‘Shark Salad’. It’s another trip inside the wonderfully warped and strangely creative mind of Gray. Made up of electronics, field recordings, found sounds, and frankly anything he finds while vacuuming under the carpet, it’s a concoction all his own. It’s not instantly appealing or pretty, in fact with all the scratching, odd stirrings, creaks, groans and downright fright music it sounds at first like the soundtrack to a disturbing horror movie (as if that isn’t cool enough!). But there’s artistry in this lunatic’s ramblings.

Gray does a lot more than simply set a mood, although he does a good job of that on such tracks as “Juan Who Nose (Knowledge)”, which is an example of pure industrial ambient joy as an electronic buzz is set to a hypnotic rhythm. “The Kingdom of Babble On”, for example, becomes a melding pot of East meets West in the way that the chime-led music is vaguely R&B but has definite Eastern elements in its warped mix. Then there’s “No Cunt (Progress)”, a murky piece that creeps along like a murderer edging his way down your hallway. It eventually opens up into a more airy but surrealistic landscape, with garbled and reversed voices that sound menacingly evil. It’s disturbing and discomfiting, but also topical and relevant because it turns out the vocal recordings are actually those of the Prime Minister hawking our oil to American interests.

‘Shark Salad’ is an uncomfortable place to be at first, but once you wander around a bit you develop a real affection for the weird surroundings. It’s a magnificent structure, like a cathedral by Gaudi — distorted beyond all normal recognition, but still stately and a thing to be admired for its own aesthetic.