Know Your Product
Inflatable Mattress Pumped Up/Blue Mattress
Published: October 19, 2011
Pumped Up/Blue Mattress
Just about the most “internet” thing imaginable. As in, exemplifying the mental state of the internet, or mental state induced by the internet—anxious, flickering entrancement—if not exactly representing all-out internet culture. That banner used to be held by Girl Talk and his exemplification of ADD, hyper-appropriated internet cool-kid culture. And, OK, maybe Pumped Up/Blue Mattress is not at that level, but you will find appropriation and ADD in ample amounts—and some pretty good, syrup-soaked beats, or pseudo-ambient beatscapes at least.
Hopefully that doesn’t come off as an out-and-out knock, because I’m not sure it’s supposed to be. Inflatable Mattress is on to something with its jumble of brief (averaging about a minute) ideas and tweaked, quick rap/R&B samples. To give some idea, there are 34 tracks on this tape/digital release, clocking in at about 50 minutes. You get the impression Inflatable Mattress’ cutting-room floor is spotless. Pardon the following mixing of metaphors, but it feels even a little apt given that we’re talking about deficits of attention. Maybe think of the music on here as cookie dough: It’s by no means fully baked, but it tastes way better raw than something baked only halfway.
Things actually get a lot more realized once you hit the second side of the tape, the Blue Mattress side, or about track 23 on the digital release, “Silent Heads.” That first side feels an awful lot like just tuning into and out of stuff—a murky groove, a quick course of genuinely pretty ambience—but flipped over, ideas get explored a bit more and develop into some pretty quality instrumental/experimental hip-hop. If maybe you’ve fought off the urge to call this “bedroom production”—it’s very bedroom, in fact, while eschewing a lot of bedroom production’s modes—it becomes unavoidable at about the 28th track, “Bedroom Boombap,” which is a perfect statement of purpose: lo-fi, cassette-culture out-hop. What an AM radio hip-hop station might sound like driving through some rural mountains, transmissions fading in and out with the passing topography. “Blue Mattress” the song actually hits nearly three minutes in length, and by the time it rolls around, something’s started to become clear: Maybe all of this has been building toward something, songs becoming more filled out and more like actual songs, however still deconstructed/abstract/experimental. “Blue Mattress” sets an uneven landscape of weirdo off-time beats, sampled and reverby female vocals, and not much else besides a sort of murk of shimmery guitar and reversal effects. If you were to put the lengths of all of these 34 songs on a graph together, you’d see most of the songs getting longer as the tape reaches its end. In a way, it seems to build on its own ADD, turning it into a compositional tool by the end, rather than a flaw.
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