Ambientplanechunks is one of the people behind the trio Windmill Moth Glue and the label "Ants and Earwigs." This album of his was recorded during a period of six months using toy keyboards, cardboard boxes and other random objects as percussions, a floppy disk sampler, a loop pedal, as well as more common band instruments such as guitar and bass, and whatever the artist happened to get his hands on at the time. "Dust Babies" is available as a free download as well as a highly affordable CD-R which comes with a bonus disc, but more of that one later.
The actual album consists of eleven tunes of rhythmic and peaceful acoustic music with a dose of ambient and experimental instrumentation, as well as a strong indie-attitude which keeps the songs from sinking into a pit of staleness. They're all based on a narrow array of instruments, and they rarely execute anything too stupendous either; a track can be built from simplistic guitar plucking or faster "shredding" (such as in "Melt in the Sun") or a slow-pace bass guitar melody, which receives some backing by the sparse background electronics and percussions. The loud and somewhat wobbly mid- to high-pitch male vocals top the whole album and give it a good dose of both its softness and edge; the vocals have a soft sound, but are so loud, somewhat unpredictable and just sound plain peculiar on top of the instrumentation. They sound fitting, but are borderline annoying as a flea-flock with their careless approach.
The album is calm and simple, but interesting and even intriquing as well. The songs rely on their softness and thus don't leave too much to your mind, and the vocals are present most of the time which makes it harder to really grasp the song structures and their hooks - whether it's a good or a bad thing, I can't really tell. I think the album is a product of a too lenghty process which makes it a fluffy compilation of different tunes, emotions and feelings, but one which doesn't entirely know what it's going for - this is especially relevant to the few aggressive shouts on the album, which are absolutely out of place. It's a decent album, for sure, but I just can't really grasp its function of existance. In the end it comes down to it being a "mere" experimental "pop"-album, which also means that one would pick it up from the shelf to take it for a spin. This fact is the album's main weakness: it approaches many directions, but doesn't deliver any of them with uttermost care, affection nor dedication, meaning it's too scattered and unfocused for its own good.
"Dust Babies" provides a lengthy flow of dusty safeness with a tiny touch of repressed hostility and insanity, and this in addition with the vocal section and the album's overall bizarrely consolatory but insecure feel makes it a difficult one to target to a certain group of people. In case you enjoy dusty soundscapes and simplistic tunes, you might find this album to your liking - but I promise nothing. Do note that the album's printing went awry and made some of the lyrics unreadable in the booklet, but it's not a too bad thing when keeping album's low price in mind.
The bonus disc is a jamming session between Ambientplanechunks and Granite Mantis, who's also a member of Windmill Moth Glue. This one's a lot rawer, dirtier and rougher than the actual album, and the songs are a lot longer and build up slower - but I don't really want to spoil the surprise of receiving this one for all those who're actually waiting to receive it. If you liked "Dust Bunnies" there's some chance you'll appreciate this one as well, despite the rougher approach. It shares the same attitude.