Megabear by ME REX is easily one of the coolest and most ambitious albums to come out this generation.
It is comprised of fifty two short tracks, most of which last a little over thirty seconds, with a total album length of around half an hour. Each track has a corresponding tarot card designed by artist Jono Ganz. This is so you can shuffle your tarot deck, play the tracks in whichever order the cards decide for you and experience the album in an entirely new way.
You’ll have a perfectly enjoyable time listening to the songs in the order they appear automatically on bandcamp, but you’ll miss out on the layers that make this experiment so special. These tracks are designed to be played in near infinite possible combinations. They are designed to be able to flow from one to the next, regardless of which songs might get paired. To me, this sounds like it should be impossible. But ME REX have made it work. Particularly if you listen to it on their purpose-built website – free of the risk of Spotify ads to break your immersion. It’s easy to let the site automatically shuffle the tracks for you and listen to the looping, flowing music for hours on end. If you want to look for the seams between songs, obviously you can find them. But it takes no effort at all to sit back and let them wash over you in their shifting uncanny beauty.
The music itself suits being attached to a tarot deck so well. It is clearly influenced by the movement of nature, with lyrics referencing rivers and refrains that evoke that feeling of being carried along gentle eddies through a glittering natural wonderland. There is a gorgeous dance between the keys, strings and drums. ME REX have crafted something genuinely special, forging a unique sound for themselves that is distinct, original and stunning.
The thought and effort that has gone into creating a piece that makes you think about not just the music you’re listening to, but how you consume music in the digital age is astounding. It is a thoroughly well executed experiment that deserves to be remembered for sheer ambition alone.
Megabear is out now. Buy the album, plus your very own special deck of tarot cards, on bandcamp.