Album Premiere/Review: qualchan.’s ‘goodbye to all that’


goodbye to all that

(Houdini Mansions)

Today, we’re thrilled to premiere goodbye to all that, the latest album from Cascadian produced qualchan..

Described by Houdini Mansions’ label owner Gray Lee as “[sitting] at the nexus of hauntology, hip hop, and minimal techno”, goodbye to all that is a largely laid back set of 41 short soundtrack snippets that evoke feelings of introversion, mystery, and humor, often all at once.

While less emotionally heavy than say 2017’s here, tyrant death. (which dealt with his feelings during his father’s illness), goodbye to all that is not necessarily a less personal release. Intrinsically linked to a relocation from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR, it sees qualchan. faced with the unknown elements of life in a new place and the loss of familiarity and comfort found in the old one. It’s not total culture shock: the beats found here aren’t aggressively bizarre, but rather slightly warped (or screwed). Common, everyday events play out in Portland in much the same way the did in Seattle, just on a different bus, on a different street, with different people. Until you adapt, this sensation shortly after a move can feel surreal, as if you’ve been dropped into the plot of a sci-fi conspiracy film, and goodbye to all that captures it well.

Part of the way qualchan. copes with his new surroundings is with humor. It’s immediately apparent in many of the track titles: “yeah man, fireworks.”, “s_o to the guy who rammed his bike into a bus.”, etc. The amusingly named “reading the scum manifesto on the max while a woman stares at me.” contextualizes the woman’s stare as admiring with its airy, twinkling sound, like something that might play during a romantic encounter in a visual novel. “dusting through dallas.” is funky, mysterious, and a bit sleazy, lying somewhere between Walker, Texas Ranger and Debbie Does Dallas. “standing outside passionate dreams smoking a cigarette while waiting on the 72.” and “break it down.” could almost be called dance tracks, though for the ashamed who might subtly shuffle in place to the music playing from inside a private lingerie show location run out of a house in Portland. It’s not all jokes, however: “blowback.” is a brief but strong representation of the alienation and confusion themes present on the album, a synth piece somewhat similar in tone to the Stranger Things theme, and “slowly swaying trees.” is a beautiful interpretation of forest-y freak folk.

All of these snapshots, whether they be weird, pretty, funny, disturbing, or all of the above, form a collage of qualchan.’s new life and his interpretations of it. But more impressive than how it captures the essence of the unknown is how it pieces together life in general. goodbye to all that is both disjointed and muddied, cohesive and clear in only the way real life is, and this is its greatest accomplishment.


You can stream qualchan.’s goodbye to all that below:


Favorite tracks: “blowback.”, “standing outside passionate dreams smoking a cigarette while waiting on the 72.”, “slowly swaying tress.”, “reading the scum manifesto on the max while a woman stares at me.”


Rating: Recommended


‘goodbye to all that’ releases tomorrow, August 2nd and is available to pre-order digital, cassette, and mini-disc here now via Houdini Mansions. Be sure to follow qualchan. on Twitter and SoundCloud to keep up-to-date.


qualchan j-card
J-card for ‘goodbye to all that’ cassette (artwork by Gray Lee)

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