If Aesop Rock was any more insular his music would have tunneled into the center of the earth. Though his recent The Impossible Kid was the best way to get into his work, as he fused the more relatable vibes of Open Mike Eagle with his own hallucinatory style, his catalogue goes deep into the weeds. Electronic wizard Tobacco similarly has been creating instantly recognizable electronic disintegrations for about two decades. Even if you’ve got the flow or the decaying keyboards, it’s impossible to replicate either of them, so forceful and strange are the textures they conjure.

It makes a certain sort of whacked out sense then that the two space cadets would work together. Aes has popped up on previous Tobacco records and the scattershot collection of singles he’s released since The Impossible Kid have been some of his scuzziest work yet. Visions of skateboarding, acid trips and socio-economic collapse are all the sort of B-movie fair Tobacco gleefully evokes even without lyrics.

But what’s striking about Malibu Ken, outside of the initial “what the fuck?” is just how much fun Aes and Tobacco seem to be having. Second track “Tuesday” is an ode to Aesop’s one man war on cleanliness. “My neighbor found a mushroom growing inside of my car/ She called me up on tour, sounding emotionally scarred/ Although it may have scared her more that I wasn’t really alarmed,” he spits with glee. He rasps about dandruff falling like an avalanche, a laundry list of horrifying medical maladies and a civilization’s worth of bacteria growing between his toes. Tobacco’s Wes Craven synths sell the abject disgust of it all, even as both of them laugh their asses off, flinging boogers at formal dinners. “Sword Box,” with an absolutely brutal low end, has the duo comparing their musical talents to the tricks of con men and magicians. It also has one of the rare shout-along choruses on the record, proving that, even through the deranged 808s, Tobacco has some hidden pop chops.

If there’s any major knock on this madness, it’s that Aes and Tobacco occasionally sound on autopilot. “1+1=13” has Aesop cribbing the exact same flow he had on “Jonathan” from other rusty side project Hail Mary Mallon. And Tobacco doesn’t have a comfort zone so much as a bunker of sonic safety. Detuned arpeggios, dusty bass bursts and fuzzed out drum claps are the basic background of nearly every song. Still, their styles are so utterly freakish that even on cruise control, Malibu Ken feels teleported in from a different solar system.

That’s especially true of the ending duo “Churro” and “Purple Moss.” “Churro” follows the exploits of a pair of bald eagles around Pittsburgh and their appetite for stray cats. It’s goddamn hilarious and where the hell else are you going to hear a rap song about some birds of prey tearing apart some unlucky kitty? Even better, and more surprising, is closer “Purple Moss.” From the album art, to the sludgy flow to the “Adult Swim” melodies, nothing on Malibu Ken has the right to be this beautiful. It’s a meditation on the end in the same mood as Aesop’s stunning “Get Out the Car” or “Gopher Guts” and Tobacco slows down his diseased production to late NES sounds or Dungeon Synth work that feels as eerie as it is entrancing.

So it’s insular, gross, completely bonkers. But there’s a reason both of these men have built cults around their work.

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