Let’s get the facts straight: Ash Koosha’s GUUD is not the kind of album that will attract a massive audience. To most ears, even the ones that appreciate what they’re hearing, GUUD will seem truly impenetrable. However, GUUD is the kind of album that rewards those who venture into its isolated, alien world where every corner conceals something inexplicable. An amalgamation of synthesizers, free-flowing effects, and disembodied voices, GUUD is a maze of electronic music that sounds like nothing else you’ll hear this year.
GUUD’s hodgepodge of sonic textures seems to arise from other dimensions. Ash Koosha effectively mutilates the conventions of structure, melody, and atmosphere to create art that is truly abstract. Most of the tracks on GUUD are relatively brief, trading volume for unrestricted density. Tracks like “Stain” are incredibly busy and overwhelming, with multifaceted vocal snippets, contracting electronic surges, and recalcitrant percussion. There are certainly standout moments within the track listing, like the rumbling “Could” and the aggressive “Phorever”, but GUUD’s strength lies in its cohesive execution. Several tracks meld seamlessly and surreptitiously into one another, creating a unified and surprising experience.
With so much going on and so many creative ideas spewing out without warning across its forty-three minute runtime, GUUD fares better as one holistic unit. Ash Koosha’s ear for unique sounds translates into some truly chilling moments, like the extraterrestrial unraveling in “Bo Bo Bones” or the slower, foreboding ambience of “Mast”. Variety doesn’t even begin to sum up the differences in tempo, mood, and dynamics throughout GUUD. It operates on an astonishing level of unpredictability and disdain for simplicity.
Its experimental nature keeps the album cold and distant, which keeps the music consistently challenging. However, with such a barrage of ideas, some inevitably are eclipsed by others, like “Le Lick It”, which is incoherent to a fault and “Kernel”, which lacks a distinguishing factor. “XXXL” and “Harbour” together, however, provide a satisfying close to the album with their bold layering of electronic jitters. Ash Koosha’s strength lies in his lack of compromise and his refusal to conjure familiar moods and rhythms.
GUUD never lingers, always pushing deeper and deeper into unvisited terrain. Ash Koosha crafts something odd, unclassifiable, and consistently immersive. Though difficult to digest, its abundance of sonic details is wonderfully alluring. Where it all leads defies explanation. This is music for those who crave the journey as much as the destination.
Bo Bo Bones