The first time I saw Man Made Hill play a show, he covered his face in shiny silver face paint. The second time, he paired his vocals with the sole sound of a sander scraping across a drum. While he has a minimal presence on the Internet, it quickly became apparent that Randy Gange’s Man Made Hill project is a pervasive, inventive, and downright amazing part of music in Toronto.
Lotsa Thoughts, the most recent offering for the prolific creator of “existential disco”, is impressively strong. It certainly is filled with lots of thoughts – swelling to the size of 21 songs and 58 minutes – but the thoughts sound so refreshingly new that it keeps attention spans intact. The production is deliciously lo fi, leaving it sounding like transmissions over an imperfect connection from another dimension.
Each bite-sized song is built around a repetitive phrase that undulates in such a way to become infectious. This is first obvious on “Subtle Scum”, a song that plays on its title by creating a small disharmony between a palatable beat and dissonant punctuating synth chords, though in continues to varying degrees on each song of the album.
There are playful lyrics everywhere, from instructions to “nod your head and say yeah” to the chorus of single “Constant Touching”: “I want every part of my body touching every part of your body.” It’s a sexy sentiment at first, but when you start to think about it, it’s actually slightly off in its physical impossibility.
His vocal delivery spreads between acerbic and aggressive (“Wretched Seed”) to light and fun-loving (“Globe Pit”). The latter song is especially entertaining, bringing to mind a mental image of a childhood bouncy-ball pit. But with inflatable globes! That’s certainly a place that I want to visit.
In fact, the entirety of Lotsa Thoughts creates a surreal and engrossing universe that you’d do well to spend some time in.
Top Tracks: “Constant Touching”, “Globe Pit”, “Lotsa Thoughts”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)