The First Trip Out

Ace Fu

There’s a disclaimer in the liner notes of Aqui’s The First Trip Out. It reads, “This is not in fact a recorded album. This is a soundtrack of a violent romp through space and time and is actually transmitted from the future…each play awakens a new vessel.” As campy, or pretentious, as it sounds, it’s there in bold print.

Aqui hail from the outer spaces of Brooklyn. Vocalist Stephonik floats above the sonic grindcore metal spewed out by the three hard-hitting men in the band. You may not realize it upon the first listen, but Stephonik is a woman. No, not a woman. A crazy, spastic whirlwind of androgyny who could challenge Karen O for the title of “craziest bitch.” The CD is enhanced, and on it you’ll find two videos that paint a much more interesting picture than the music alone can project. Stephonik performs as if possessed. Her eyes are rolled back and she seems disturbed and damaged, yet dangerous. Otherworldly, even.

This art-metal performance piece tells a non-linear story about invasion, battles and rebuilding: “Contact! We’re alive! We’ve stormed into a battle that was already happening” (from “Roll”); “We fell through what we believe now was a worm hole and actually found the eye of the battle” (from “Eye of the Battle”); “We decided we would tear it apart and then rebuild!” (from “Action!”). Is it music, or a science fiction flick? Mad Max as a metal opera?

It’s twisted, bizarre and ambitious, but it does seem to expand with every listen, as promised. Aqui, in Spanish, means “here.” Ironic, since this music seems to come from neither here nor there.

Ace Fu:

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