Ismatic Guru


Ismatic Guru III cassette

Genre-bending madness at its finest—ISMATIC GURU is here to paint your skull with the trippiest colors of a poised rainbow, and plunge your mind down the most elusive of rabbit’s holes. With this third installment of an ongoing collaboration between John Toohill (a.k.a. SCIENCE MAN) and Bran Schlia (CLUMP), we are treated to a circus of absurdist surreality where  synthesizers warble, writhe, and do battle with undulating guitars and skronking bass. The cadence of the vocals calls to mind the misleadingly casual delivery of Henry Wood, with accelerated paranoia coloring the timbre. The musicianship is impressive, but never flashy or overly indulgent. Post-new wave crashes headlong into post-punk…from the wreckage emerges ISMATIC GURU. The results are dense, disturbing, and ecstatically deranged. Killer stuff. For the freaks, by the freaks.

Ismatic Guru II cassette

Treble-punk meets synthwave on this short and fun tape. Imagine the top-of-the-neck guitar lines of CONEHEADS with the bright and bouncy keys of CHERRY CHEEKS and you’ll get the idea. The bio describes the vocals as “goblin ELVIS,” and I can’t do better than that. Every song is a perfect bouncy rocker with interlocking guitar and keyboard elements that are catchy and danceable, with a warm bass (or maybe organ?) sound that is mixed perfectly. The last song is called “Hey, Little Fucker,” which is an A+ title. If you’re on team egg, check this one out.

Ismatic Guru Ismatic Guru cassette

Fidgety, repetitive math-punk meeting at the intersection of DEVO and BEEFHEART. Deadpan slice-of-life vocals remind me of URANIUM CLUB. Often this type of music is technically well- played but lacking in terms of focus or songwriting clarity. ISMATIC GURU’s six songs here layer clever guitar interplay and kinetic rhythms with defined structure and a trajectory that actually brings the listener along, while still getting in and out in under two minutes. Great stuff.