Simulant Skin Included
Though no-wave may be an archaic term brandished by grizzled, Trouser Press Record Guide-carrying record-store clerks, it’s been a goddamn long time since someone’s tapped the spirit of the Contortions and MARS like Retconned’s debut album, Simulant Skin Included, does. Essentially the brainchild of one Jonathan Lukens, Retconned is a study in pu(ni)shing the limits of one man’s sequencer, every duckwalking beat skipping around inhumanly in the most deliberate of fashions, every sinister bass tone incessantly bombing one’s threshold, every tweeting keyboard note one-upping the bass tones by beaming out of nowhere at the most inopportune moments, Lukens all the while neuroticizing like an acid-fried prophet, his lyrics as much mini-manifestoes as they are confessions; take, for example, those of “Synthskinned”: “People are ripping their synthskins off, ripping off ten-year-old songs / there’s something just as dull underneath, and it’s less than the sum of its parts / you can follow me to austerity, hell, simulant sincerity / that’s all I can offer.”
However, for as Chrome-level wacked-out as Simulant Skin Included may seem, it’s anything but idiot savantry or, in the more pejorative sense, the ramblings n’ rumblings of a thoroughly sick individual, “Seed Me” displaying a far calmer, less abrasive side to Lukens’s psyche, proving that Retconned’s aesthetic is studiously premeditated and, above all, executed; still, it’s obvious there’s more than just one Culturcide record in his collection. Headache-inducing to some and, to others (this writer included), pure neurotic bliss, Simulant Skin Included nevertheless is a compelling dose of unfettered nervous energy.