Did you know that male platypuses inject poisonous venom from a spur on their hind feet? Although the strike usually only incapacitates a human with its painful after effects, the venom unfortunately killed Chip Oatley, former lead singer of Ohio-based band Friendly Platypus, back in 1997. Later that year, in homage to Oatley, Drew “Drewcifer” VanGoghmez and other remaining members of that band formed the project Death By Platypi, a lo-fi rock moniker that experiments with electronic textures.
Death By Platypi – Adverse Yaw Revealing Now
“Adverse Yaw Revealing Now” begins with an urgent cymbal tapping, and quickly develops into a more complex full-kit drumbeat. As the guitar comes in with a simple arpeggio melody that loops over on itself, we start to hear heavily distorted vocals delivered in a mostly spoken, sometimes sung fashion, often hanging in a deep, gravelling register. Although abrasive at first, Death By Platypi creates a industrial mood that is danceable yet very much set in the rock realm, allowing the listener to get lost in its dense production.
It’s rather difficult to understand what the lyrics are saying at times because they’re so heavily buried in electronic effects, but perhaps this is an intentional phenomenon in an effort to summon Chip Oatley’s spiritual presence within the music. The ghostly transmission of, “Shining brightly above me, the traffic signals overhead, I try to take control, losing contact now… Held captive, make me an example,” literally makes it sound like the singer is the ghost of Chip Oatley, with electrifying shockwaves of noise that interrupt the sound signals like a poltergeist as the song continues. The message of the lyrics even hint toward something trying to make contact with another dimension or frequency:
Asking for contact now,
Screeched in a wretched tone, the climax finally hits when we arrive at “Revealing Now!” It’s as if the phantom has breached the fourth wall and received contact with us in the material world in this moment. Just as suddenly as a spirit would appear and dissolve, the vocals fade into the atmosphere until we are left with the original arpeggio in the guitar and the drum beat. This song leaves you feeling haunted, electrified, and slightly uncomfortable like the way it feels to tap into the spiritual realm of our universe.
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