Know Your Product
Special People: Advertise, Cex: Facing the Mirror, Whiff: Side B of Whiff cassette
Published: August 8, 2012
Special People, “Advertise” The granite-hook punch of Creepy Murdle and the gnarly velocity of Newagehillbilly collide in Special People, and some Human Bell, Bes, and Red Red Ruby gets thrown in for good measure. “Advertise”—half of this Baltimore supergroup’s debut 7-inch—is schizophrenic in every possible way. It’s a veritable mullet of melody, all courtly, moon-eyed business on the chorus, then angel-dusted World’s Strongest Man heaviosity partying down on verses that hit like punches to the jugular. What we have here is savvy, effective songwriting where the extremes offered up are somehow made to play nicely together. There’s never a moment where the listener needs to question why death metal scraeaming and crashing chords are sitting cheek to pierced jowl next to sensitive murmuring and caressed frets within the same four minutes. The shock of discord lasts about as long as it takes to listen to “Advertise” once. The ingenuity of not varying the formula significantly takes a bit more time to appreciate. By that point, you’ll be as ready for a Special People full-length album as we are.
For more information visit specialpeoplemusic.com
Cex, “Facing the Mirror” It is recommended that you listen to “Facing the Mirror” alone, at a volume that’s reasonable but not excessive. Close proximity to a mirror is entirely optional. There is a space just behind the ear, where the head gives way to the neck, which is particularly sensitive to frequencies set at a slightly higher-than-normal pitch. “Mirror” is music for that particular space: a symphony of programmed, percussive bops, taps, and bleeps cut with golden, resonant tones and synth hiccups that take pains to tantalizingly tease and shiatsu-massage this area for something in the neighborhood of 12 minutes. Rjyan Kidwell stages this fantastic-qua-chiropractic voyage as a forward surge of minor peaks and valleys, with the momentum jacked up ever-so-slowly as power-walk pace gives way to something more appropriate for a light jog, as bauble-bobble chords surrender to entropic synth perversions more reminiscent of “y7,” by Brit beat-pulverizers Autechre.
It’s easy—too easy, perhaps—when one thinks of Cex today, to contemplate the outsized, mock-rap persona Kidwell explored in earnest for a while there (see the irreverently brilliant “Furcoat”). “Mirror” serves as splendid notice that he’s got dimension to spare and then some besides.
For more information visit cexja.ms
Whiff, Side B of “Whiff” cassette The pedigree here is nothing short of impeccable: drone merchant Max Eilbacher, sonic polymath Lexie Mountain, and out-rocker-extraordinaire Nate Nelson armed with an irrevocable license to confuse. And while Side A of the trio’s self-titled cassette splits the difference between no-boundaries questing and a tendency towards feigned misdirection, Side B is where it lays claim to hearts and minds. For almost 11 minutes, Whiff intermittently flood the void with electronic equivalents of aquatic rushes and splashes and burbles, with clucks and throbs and cicada chirps. A momentous, insectile hum—don’t rock this sucker with flies hovering nearby—reveals itself by degrees, establishing the sort of uneasy-listening baseline that can quickly and curiously envelop the unsuspecting. It’s like listening to someone trying and failing at keeping three hard drives’ worth of irrepressible party-favor FX holed up on the far side of a high-school gymnasium. Don’t hate Whiff because it’s abstractly inscrutable; hate it because it unscrewed your face and handed it to you without you even realizing it and because the cover of its debut tape is a Usual Suspects-esque group shot of the band with a nature scene projected over their shins and knees.
For more information visit ehserecords.com/whiff
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