Goat: Commune LP
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There is no direct association between mysterious Swedish psychedelicists Goat and Argentinian master of magical realism, Jorge Luis Borges. Yet their mission appears to be the same. Borges generated his ideas from historical curiosities across the globe - knife duels on the South American plains, Middle Eastern heresiarchs, Chinese pirates - and twisted them into fictions that blurred the lines between footnotes and outright fantasy. Goat’s sound is the sonic embodiment of this principle, working heavy psych-rock, Nigerian afrobeat, German krautrock, Anatolian funk, and a host of other micro-niches into a hallucinatory celebration of rock’s diverse manifestations.
Despite the success of Goat’s critically-acclaimed 2012 debut, World Music, the individual identities involved remain shrouded in mystery: Goat performs in masks, and spokespersons maintain that the group is simply an ongoing multi-generational collective of musicians from the isolated, Swedish locality of Korpilombolo, a junction of native Sami people, Scandinavian settlers, and the rare wayfaring outsiders. Beyond that, Goat divulges very little. It’s as if Goat are taking cues from Borges’ short story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” wherein a clandestine enclave of intellectuals attempt to create a new reality by inserting articles on a fictitious, puzzling state into modern encyclopedias. Borges’ secret society wanted their heretical ideologies to infiltrate common thought through an invented past; Goat wants to revitalize the communal experience of rock music by creating an alternate origin story
Ultimately, it is Goat’s music that speaks the most about them, and on Commune they deliver a heavy dose of acidic grooves, hypnotic incantations, and serpentine guitar lines, building on the much-lauded sound of World Music to explore new territories. Starting with the layered percussive groove, Eastern guitar flourishes, and convoking vocals of “Talk To God,” Commune re-establishes the trance-inducing rhythms and exotic blaze of guitar that characterized World Music. From there, the album launches into darker and more propulsive territories, occasionally emerging for breaths of transcendental ‘60s psych-pop and driving proto-metal fuzz.
“Goat is mainly a symbol of sacrifice. To sacrifice the individual for the collective good. To become one with the rest of humanity and universe,” said an unnamed Goat conspirator in a rare correspondence. With that philosophy, Goat is propagating their crossbred music and mysticism by sharing Commune with the world. And, while we’ll never see Goat’s faces on the cover of a glossy magazine, their intoxicating conjurations are poised to infiltrate our collective psyche with the subversive magical allure of a Borgesian fable.