Randy Barracuda: On the Low
Published: August 25, 2010
On the Low
Anybody’s having more fun branding themselves and naming songs/albums than certain European electronic music producers, they’re saving that shit for themselves. Dutch producer Young Marco can marry a tropicalia-esque guitar figure to a 5 a.m. cool-down rustle and give it the impish title “Moving Fast (Very Slowly).” Metal on Metal can sculpt a filling-loosening bass slap, solicit a next-level video featuring two women playing ping-pong with a hand grenade, and then rivet it to the brainpan with the blithe “Bastard” song title.
Finnish producer Perttu Eino Häkkinen may be the Jimi Hendrix of nomenclature cheek. As Randy Barracuda—which sounds like a character left out of Boogie Nights—he has fired off such choice cuts as “Rick James Is Dead,” the curiously naughty sounding “Skweee Like a Pig”—“skweee” being the genre tag given Barracuda’s and other Scandinavian producers’ brand of R&B-ish breakbeats—and the dizzying “Ketamine Strut.”
Better still is how this verbal playfulness telegraphs his music’s puckish hybridization. Never merely lock-step techno or ambient electro, never settling for mining disco beats for a retro sheen or chasing synth sounds to give his tracks a futuristic patina, Barracuda’s tracks have actual hooks and hummable melodies, but he pockets them inside production work as artfully awkward and sophisticated as it is pop satisfying. And on his recent, four-track On the Low 12-inch, Barracuda seamlessly pairs his beat chemistry and verbal panache in “Streisand Effect,” a stretch of lovely sonic bliss.
Barracuda builds patiently here, layering twinkling synth bleats over a bass punch over another rhythmic texture. He inserts a tasteful series of subtle details into the mix for two minutes until the track finds a second gear just after the two-minute mark, at which point it shakes itself from an ambient wash into a pulsing journey. Echoing keyboards pick up the melody, and for the next three minutes, “Streisand Effect” teleports the brain into a comforting glow, the way late afternoon sunshine streaming through a window coats a sleeping cat in a warm embrace.
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