The focus of Tobacco’s latest album, Ultima II Massage, is to crush you. “Lipstick Destroyer,” “Streaker,” “Father Sister Berzerker,” and a handful of other tracks on the LP can only be described as grindstone music. Occasionally they’re only slightly more melodic than table saws. They spit up sparks and crunch computer sounds into rough, digital debris.
But there is a softer side to UIIM: “Good Complexion,” which sounds like an atmospheric, dial-up modem; “Creaming for Beginners” with its meandering, robotic whispers. A smooth touch is still resisted, but these songs provide a starting point for us to begin unwrapping the thorny casing of Ultima II Massage.
High Tides’ remix of “Eruption (Gonna Get My Hair Cut at the End of the Summer)” follows that impulse, dressing up the track in the kind of delicate gloss typically reserved for ’80s teen flicks. The track is soft and shiny—a stark contrast to the brute force approach Tobacco employs. Still, however, High Tides doesn’t damage the integrity of Tobacco’s original work. Rather, they re-outfit Tobacco with a more accessible sound to help us make sense of artist’s intentional chaos. Hand-picked by Tobacco to produce the remix, High Tides is a relative newcomer who leaves us wanting for more with this track.