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Review: Magnificent Reflections - Bubble Dragon in the Garden of Demonic Delight 1995-2000
Posted May 06, 2014 by Taylor Peters
WRITTEN BY
Taylor Peters
ON
May 06, 2014

Stream Bubble Dragon in the Garden of Demonic Delight  via MFT's embeddable player:

  1. I’m not going to be coy: I’ve been doing some virtual crate digging through the MFT archive and I have come to the full realization that my favorite Indiana album is Magnificent ReflectionsBubble Dragon in the Garden of Demonic Delight.

  2. I’m writing this on Monday, May 5. I’ve listened to Bubble Dragon in the Garden of Demonic Delight six times today.

  3. It is, I think, impossible to deny that the internet has been a tremendous but not unmitigated boon for music of all sorts. Lots of people have opinions about this and like to fight about it in thoroughly uninteresting ways. The fact remains that I’ve been able to listen to a big out-of-print chunk of the Hanson Records back catalog because Aaron Dilloway had the platform of Bandcamp on which to upload and stream it all. That’s just one (non-local) example.

  4. Without the internet generally and Musical Family Tree specifically I can’t be sure I would’ve ever listened to Bubble Dragon in the Garden of Demonic Delight. Without such a platform, Carphugger (the totally real name of the guy behind Magnificent Reflections), might’ve just kept all this to himself.

  5. The music is nominally local, sure, but I’ve never seen a bill with with Magnificent Reflections listed. I’ve never seen one of their albums at a local record store. Thus, the internet.

  6. I’m probably going to sound like an old man yelling at a cloud for a second, but I think one important thing the internet has taken from us is the possibility of sustained mystery or confoundment.

  7. With the help of Google, the longest it has ever taken me to figure out what a song is when I was really motivated was a single day (the song was “It Came in the Night” by A Raincoat).
     

     

     

  8. For the record I was born in 1988 so it’s less “old man yells at cloud” and more “young man half remembers and half imagines music discovery before the internet.” Only 90s kids will understand!

  9. Magnificent Reflections’ mystery is robust. It is unbroken by immanent googleability. As near as I can tell, this album exists in one place: on Musical Family Tree. Aside from a pretty bare Bandcamp, an abandoned-looking CD Baby page, and someone who lives in Indianapolis named Carp Hugger on Facebook, the internet is pretty bereft on the subject of Magnificent Reflections.

  10. Given the way local scenes work, I imagine if I were to ask around I could crack Magnificent Reflections' little mystery. I don't think I will. I imagine too that there are people out there who will scoff at me not already knowing.

  11. These songs feel somehow perpetual, as if they have never not existed. Even on my first listen I heard countless little moments of near-recognition, as if I’d unconsciously known songs like these should and could exist but hadn’t known to do anything about it.

  12. About a lot of modern art, skeptics will say, “I could’ve done that.” The common retort is, “But you didn’t.”

  13. Given the fact that this music feels so always already extant, it reminds me just how much music exists out there that I haven’t heard.

  14. On average, 12 hours of audio are uploaded to Soundcloud every minute.

  15. I sort of like it when the music I listen to reminds me how small I am.

  16. Alongside folks like Chicago Bulls Hat and Dr. Ray, Magnificent Reflections was featured on MFT’s podcast back in October. The theme of the episode was mysterious artists. Scope.  

     

  17. With all of that in mind, I feel a little conflicted writing this review, as if I maybe shouldn’t be explaining something that doesn’t seem to want to be explained.

  18. Not conflicted enough to not write the review, obviously, but conflicted enough to want to register the feeling somehow.

  19. A couple of lazy RIYLs because I just realized I haven’t yet told you what this album even sounds like: Ween, Sun City Girls, The 49 Americans.  

  20. A slightly less lazy RIYL: this album sounds like someone with a lot of musical and recording experience, and a lot of talent, amusing himself in the studio. A lot of music like this would be lo-fi by default, but no, the production here is mostly clean and present or skronky and janked up when it needs to be. It is intermittently catchy and noisy, welcoming and prickly.

  21. Listening to this album feels like you’re always almost just about to grasp exactly what’s going on and crack the whole code. Then, just before you stand up from where you’re sitting to go tell your buddy that Bubble Dragon in the Garden of Demonic Delight is not as packed with multitude as you once thought, Carphugger pulls the rug right out from under you again.

  22. When Walt Whitman said, “I am large, I contain multitudes,” I think he was doing an impression of this album.

  23. Here’s another quote you probably first read in 10th grade English but whatever: “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” That's Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  24. Magnificent Reflections’ music is not “consistent.” It is diverse, scattered. Most of the songs are less than two minutes. Many are less than one. They drift in and out of coherence and of catchiness.

  25. That is particularly the case on BDITGODD, since it’s a sort of collected works type deal, gathering work from between 1995 and 2000.

  26. My favorite song is “Paint it Brown.”  

  27. From that CD Baby I found: “The band consistently cranks out anti-culture gems. That is if you consider coprolite a gem.”

  28. Coprolite is fossilized feces.

  29. That whoever is behind Magnificent Reflections would make just that sort of self-flagellating joke highlights something (something) important about what exactly it is that I like about this music and this album.

  30. Also from the CD Baby page: “There are some definite influences… and some of them are obvious, but we hope there’s a lot of mystery also.”

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