When I first tried nitrous oxide with acid it didn’t take. What I mean is that you have to learn how to inhale the balloon of nitrous the right way to get the proper high that takes over your entire body and your head. When you finally get it, it’s unreal. I can barely describe it in words. First off, you have to inhale the nitrous laying down on your back because you will pass out for about 60 to 90 seconds. This is when the trip happens. The nitrous makes you kind of die for a minute and the acid takes over every sense that the gas leaves alive in your brain. The last image your eyes are able to capture before you pass out fades into a rainbow of light-streaks, like one of those coloring pages for kids from the ’80s with black velvet around the lines you’re supposed to fill with markers. Then, every image, sound and feeling in your body seems to convulse in sync. Everything inside your head (which has now projected out in front of you, behind your closed eyelids) thumps over and over. It seizures. Then, all of a sudden, you snap out of it. You sit up and you have nothing else to do but scream because what you just experienced was so weird, so otherworldly, so close to what must be the feeling of dying that you feel as though you just overdosed. The blue fades from your face and hands and you ask whoever is closest to you to pass you another balloon so you can go there again.
The days of lying on my back, ripped on acid, sucking on a balloon full of nitrous oxide are over. I rarely think back on this period of my life — that is, until I heard Föllakzoid.
Föllakzoid’s latest LP II is what happened behind my eyelids when I was passed out from nitrous oxide and acid. The album encompasses that 60 seconds of quasi-death I experienced while high.
Föllakzoid are all repetition. The Chilean five-piece creates songs that seem to grow on top of one another like two plants competing for space in a glass terrarium. The simplicity of Föllakzoid is what makes it powerful. There is always one instrument that remains consistent, carrying a solid spine of reassurance through most of the band’s seven-minute-long songs. Nothing about Föllakzoid is chaotic. It’s all controlled and executed within a mathematical framework. Like those velvet pictures with white lines left to be colored in, Föllakzoid leave veins open for the imagination in every song. It’s almost half-finished, but the spaces act as the sixth member. The song “9” chugs through itself. “Trees” skips along a horse-trot beat, running straight ahead on synths and guitar riffs laced with digital delay. “Pulsar (Extended Version)” captures that repeated pulsing of color and sound that I felt when lying, blue in the face, flat on my back with a shriveled balloon hanging out of my lips.
Sometimes it feels ridiculous to pick apart music that doesn’t rely heavily on lyrics. It’s hard to talk about sound because it’s a very specific form of expression that purposefully does not chose to reveal itself through written language. Music is not fiction for a reason. The person creating it has chosen sound as their means of expression and to try to reduce it down to an essay feels daunting and, well, not really the point. It’s hard to write about Föllakzoid for exactly this reason. I could peddle through every riff and try to talk about the influences that are cited and how this record makes sense in today’s competitive Krautrock landscape, or I could tell you that when I listen to II, it reminds me of the best psychedelic drug combination I ever did and it makes me want to remain in the 60-second quasi-death that trip granted me.