The first Night Control album took more than 10 years to get here, but it was so deeply worth the wait. Lovingly assembled by our friends at Kill Shaman, “Death Control” collects the best of a massive back-catalog of unreleased home recordings by a prolific, enigmatic, and multitalented gent named Christopher Curtis Smith. Expertly crafted and wonderfully warped, it’s perfect pop buried in a junkyard of tape hiss and psychedelic weirdness.
More than that, “Death Control” is a journey through the fractal history of recorded music: old songs loved but forgotten reach out across the years to become the new songs you can’t believe you haven’t heard before. A mental catalog of ephemeral hits and phantom classics is rebuilt from memory and transformed into something rich and strange: the overpowering déjà vu of sonic true love, the beauty of the lost and found, is the territory Night Control calls home.
Though the album as a whole tends to drift in and out of immediate consciousness, that is by no means a bad thing, and there are enough instantly satisfying tracks dispersed throughout to snap it all back into focus (my favorites: “Good Looks,” “Star 131”). Give it time. A little patience exposes new layers to unpeel with every listen. File with Ariel Pink, John Maus, early Pavement, the Olivia Tremor Control, and other underground pop iconoclasts in the music library of your heart.