These days it feels like people are more likely to share news about a record on social media than to buy it. Breaking through that wall of industry fuckery, Mr. Fingers’ wildly acclaimed Outer Acid 12″ EP is already getting a repress, and I assume it was produced in a fairly voluminous run the first time around. But Larry Heard has always kept the supply lines flush: “Sun Can’t Compare” with Mr. White has probably set some kind of record for remaining continually in print for as long as it has and seems to resurface in the shop with a new run every year.
Everyone with access to a wordpress installation has chimed in on what this “means” – it’s almost certainly the underground’s version of a Happening or summer blockbuster. Less noted: it’s a really good fucking record, and the title track is possibly the best corrective on the market to a glut of disposable and patently shitty acid records that nostalgia kindled and Roland’s Aria stoked into a pandemic. “Outer Acid” is a slow churn, a slow burn, a slow turn away from the excesses of the squelch and toward the mysterious & mystical. With the flair of Vangelis, Heard taps into a primal force here that is hard to verbalize other than presenting a series of visual images, imagined snapshots of Aztec cities and Greek democides from a world illuminated by fire and sun.
This is some heady shit I’m on, but Larry Heard has made some heady shit here to talk about and I’m going with it. “Qwazars” floods up from this same subterraneal seam. It’s strange to talk about a purely electronic track in these terms but it’s alternately mystifying and heartrending, deeply emotional and cosmically cerebral. The B Side tracks seem almost like an answer to this – a housier side of Larry Heard that perhaps is more in tune with the kind of music he might enjoy exploring now, several decades after initializing with the blueprint and drawing up plans for an entire universe of Deep House. Both “Nodyahed” (say it fast) and “Aether” erupt with African rhythms and noisy percussion. Whereas “Outer Acid” and “Qwazars” play with the tight precision of an atomic clock, these are more expansive, more sloppy, more joyously messy and unkempt. I’d say these are the two sides of Larry Heard, meeting, but we know damn well there are far more than just two.
I’ve always felt that books should be read and records should be played, but I admit to hesitating about leaving this one outside the plastic. Christ – I think you could make a fair claim to carving this in gold and attaching it to the next Voyager spacecraft. “Timeless” usually means less than we like to admit: we’re here but a few years, and for fashion to stand still for even a dozen is impressive. I’m willing to wager right now that this record will sound just as beautiful in 2050 as it does today. Come back and check if we’re still here to argue about it.