Bogtrotter hails from Minneapolis, but it sounds more like he’s emerged from a slimy test tube from an Area 51 laboratory. His trippy, drippy downtempo and menacing, experimental breaks have been leaving a soaked trail of grime and slop across Shanti Planti and Merkaba Music this past year. But his latest EP, Catawompus, has completed his evolution into a venomous, technologically powered force to be reckoned with.
The hi-fi detail and sheer relentlessness of these six tracks should make lovers of psychedelic sound design begin to count Bogtrotter among the best artists who take influence from the scene’s unofficial godfather, Tipper. Cephalopod Shuffle shows this more than any of the other tracks, with delayed vocal cuts and goofy, digital tom bumbling recalling Tipper at his quirkiest. Ultimately though, all the playfulness can’t neutralize just how sinister and frightening everything comes off. I haven’t been this creeped out since I stumbled upon the bug tunnel scene of Temple of Doom as a kid.
On Cosmojig, buzzing mosquito-like noises and slurpy synths take turns sweeping around your head in stereo, while rapid clicks and pops keep everything rhythmic. Bogtrotter has a knack for juggling all sorts of different dizzying leads while still keeping everything tight and clean. On the other hand, he can achieve the same amount of command and power when he focuses all of his energy into a single beefy sound. If you close your eyes when the lightspeed stabbings arrive in the middle sections of Rhythms and Catawompus, you’ll feel giant caterpillars crawling about and completely blanketing your face. But they wouldn’t feel nearly as enveloping if Bogtrotter didn’t clear out all of his other synths and carve out an enormous pocket for them to fully occupy your senses like he does here.
If you enjoyed playing with bugs when you were a kid, you can grab Catawompus over at Bogtrotter’s Bandcamp.