Dropped down amongst the knobs and dials of Penguin Studio in San Diego, rogue avatars Gabe Serbian, Justin Pearson, and Luke Henshaw have created a new project in the form of Planet B, with the shared purpose of creating music both mischievous in sound and sobering in message. The three have worked together in varying capacities over the years, including Luke’s remix of Justin’s “A Pig’s Orphan”, contributions to the soundtrack of Asia Argento’s Incompresa, as well as “Variations in the Key of Afterlife”, an otherworldly opus featuring Gabe and Luke. Planet B, however, marks the beginning of a full-on melding of these three preternatural minds, successfully integrating key aspects of these musicians’ stylistic strengths and playing off of one another with purpose.
The first artifact from Planet B came in 2015 with the release of the “Wrong Utopia” 7” single. Featuring two tracks, both can be heard almost as otherworldly anthems: catchy, heavily percussive, and eerie all at once. Pearson sneers lyrics that present the viewpoint of an outsider looking on at his surroundings, perhaps specifically regarding the ethics of punk and the music scene he has been entangled in for years: “Sell a good bad luck charm/ watch them hurt their own arm/ shaking their bloody fist/ in the world of the nihilist,” seemingly uninterested in taking part and instead deciding that “’Tween the moth and the web, I’ll make a new landmark.” This is interspersed with Henshaw’s fantastical sci-fi accompaniments: utilizing Justin’s whistling UFO vibrato and applying it to the dark and distorted electrical hums, claps, and marching band drum beats. Basically, “Wrong Utopia” has all the makings of your next interdimensional ear worm.
Side 2 of the single, “Join a Cult”, has a more foreboding sound, like a booming and creepy call to arms. This is in large part due to the more booming drums, live wire buzzes, and digital echoes that brings to mind an oncoming swarm of mechanical insects headed straight for the song’s settings of burning houses and dry fields, “the one without a view”. This is all punctuated by whimsical bells that are unsettling in the context of the song much in the same way that hearing a child singing in a horror movie is.
After this initial release, Serbian joined the mix, adding endless potential for any strange percussive conjuring the mind could create. The duration and extent of their stay in this juncture of time and space remains to be seen. Regardless, as long as Planet B is around, consider your brains abducted.