When a review you’re working on refuses to be written, there are two equally healthy ways to respond. Collapse into drunken self-loathing, or change tack and focus on another idea. In an uncharacteristic bout of good sense, I chose the latter. But I’m not writing about that idea either.
In the last VMD I highlighted Underrated Jemz – a YouTube channel which archives music from the fringes. Referring to my notes, I went looking for several tracks I hadn’t discussed – recommendations from my past self, which we fully intend to share with you one day. Today cannot be that day.
One song (4Lung’s “Rave Girls”) had stuck in my mind. It exists within some kind of digital hardcore Inception. Vocally it samples Australian DJ S3RL’s “Pretty Rave Girl”; which itself sampled the melody of Daddy DJ’s dance hit, er, “Daddy DJ.”
Listening to it again sabotaged everything. This article could only be about 4Lung now, because curiosity got the better of me. Switching to Bandcamp I discovered their recently released Tiny Troon Adventures EP. The cover art was especially provocative to a 90s kid; but it was the first track, waiting patiently in the embed player, which sucked me in.
“STAY MANIC FOREVER AND NEVER BE HURT AGAIN” is a title which commands attention. It’s intro feels grandiose. Epic even. The first minute of this song would entirely suit the OST to a thought-provoking space opera. Then comes that drop.
I wouldn’t blame anyone for being surprised that any musical tech – known to either man or god – could handle this many beats. But despite the whiplash caused by such a change in tone, “STAY MANIC…” maintains an uncanny sense of dignity. 4Lung isn’t trolling us – we’re being primed for twists and turns and some well conceived crazy.
The cover of Tiny Troon Adventures isn’t just a subversive call back to a classic cartoon. It also counts as a welcome/warning sign to visitors entering the universe 4Lung inhabits. Literally.
This article is titled 23 Minutes in the Lungverse for a very specific reason. While listening to this EP, I was also browsing through the 4Lung Wiki. 4Lung has crafted an entire fictional universe, and dipping a toe into it – while listening to this record – was quite a ride. The experience was almost Lovecraftian. My feeble human mind could scarcely comprehend the geometry of her domain.
‘Four Jillian Lung (born September 3rd) is a Cocker Spaniel/Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix who produces many different flavors of electronic dance music.’ Some of her peers include: Amaryllis Anacrusis, Summertime Sodababy, Madame Baroness Von Beetle Supreme and Ping-Pong Pepperpockets. We’re in the midst of the “Gay Aunt Jane’s Revenge” story arc.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot to unpack. Certainly too much to explore within the EP’s running time; so let’s get back to the music.
The site’s “About” section distinguishes 4Lung the artist (a.k.a Hushy) from the fursona. She’s described as ‘a self-taught composer/producer turned music school dropout who has dabbled in a vast variety of musical genres only to end up circling back to her one most stupid true love, breakcore.’
For the uninitiated: breakcore is a variant of jungle music, with an emphasis on heavy kick drums, breaks, high tempos and a liberal use of samples. 4Lung’s affinity for this genre apparently suits her work ethic:
Hushy devotes 6 hours a day to producing music, 7 days a week. You may interpret this as an indicator of impressive willpower and commitment, but don’t be fooled. It’s just the amphetamines (and a lack of interest in anything that isn’t music).
“VERY CONTROVERSIAL IN THE FANDOM” is the EP’s purest demonstration of breakcore in action. 4Lung mounts Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” within a typhoon of keys and reverb. I played it for a friend. She smiled, blinked, and then walked out of the room.
That’s not to say that this is unlistenable. On the contrary, Tiny Troon Adventures is accomplished and insanely entertaining. The twist is that it’s so frenetic and bizarre. Pads, a helmet and Dramamine are recommended.
Works like this are often the hardest to write about; because they are lived through as much as listened to. Overall this thing has something of a carnival vibe. For example, “BUP BUP BUP!” has you bopping along happily; though monitoring your heart rate is as important as keeping up with the floats. “BUP BUP BUP!” is one of the slower songs.
“A DEMON APPEARS AGAIN TONIGHT” features some sublime reality-cracking. I’m glad that 4Lung is alive and making music. However part of me wishes we could dissect her brain. Only radical neuroscience can map the processes which wired samples from ‘Ring of Fire’ and Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” into this madness.
There are those out there who will probably scoff. Extratone speedcore exists within our universe and Tiny Troon Adventures is almost sedentary by comparison. But it’s also a perfect (albeit…unique) introduction to such a distinctive and exciting genre.
4Lung’s music and fictional universe come highly recommended. In fact I’d recommend them to people with little to no interest in either hardcore dance music or furry webcomics in particular. As once in a lifetime experiences go, Tiny Troon Adventures sure is a doozy. And the Lungverse itself is a magical world of pure imagination.
You can find 4Lung in these places:
Tiny Troon Adventures on Bandcamp
Hushy 4Lung on YouTube