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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Datascraper - "Remnant"

Artist: Datascraper
Album: Remnant
Release Date: 3-16-08
Label: Xynthetic
Genre: ''Dark, Post-Industrial Electro-Body Music"
Website: http://www.xynthetic.com/ xsn019.php

Well, if you miss the sound of your crappy Discman skipping on your way to work since the dawn of the MP3 player, this shit is so TOTALLY for you. I'm not really making fun of it ( yet ), I'm just saying, this is really typical, glitchy noise.
Really the main problem I have with Datascraper's 'Remnant' is that I have so much junk like this in my playlist these days, you would think I listen to music by only one person (or robot).
It's kind of depressing. The snap-crackle-pop of the micro-beat has become as ubiquitous at the turn of the century as that obnoxious 808 cowbell on all eighties synthesizer music from Janet Jackson to Skinny Puppy (hey, man, I'm just saying). Hipster-friendly acts from Radiohead to Linkin Park have been sneaking in click-y, knock-y, ear-drum-split-y beats, reminiscent of Pan Sonic or Autechre, to more or less effective degree. One day, there will be programs by Apple and Microsoft, built in like screen-savers for iTunes and Windows Media Player, that make music just like this, with no human composer whatsoever, to remix people's music collections or something. Oh, hey, waitaminnit, nevermind...
Album opener 'Lyrincane' gurgles, twitches and gags out three surreal minutes of staggering beat collage that gradually builds into a steady rhythm, before immersing the listener in a welcome, raga-like bass-drone break. Clocking in at just over six minutes, it doesn't offend my sensibilities, but doesn't show me anything new, either.
'Side Impact' introduces itself with a delay-heavy metal scrape that continues over a buckshot of scattered noises that twists and distorts as soft synths converse passively across the backdrop. There are beats that sound like they were pulled from field recordings, which I can respect a hell of alot more than if they were selected from a menu of presets and dicked around with a little.
'Your Property Next' is the most dance-friendly offering of the mix. With a driving, stop-start dynamic to its' beat, the melody is the only annoying factor, here. A pulsing three-note swell and ambient drone cloud the mix with less variation than the rhythm and thus render a decent trance redundant. I might dance to something like this for the first two minutes before saying "Fuck it" and hitting the bar for the other four.
'Feldspar' killed all my patience for this endeavor. It sounds like our maestro fell asleep at the mixing board with his face down on the keys of his fucking synth, while a monotonous, looping back-up rhythm struggled not to do the same thing. WAKE UP, NUMB-NUTS, your asshole reviewer is talking shit to you! HEY! You FAIL!
"Worsen" does EXACTLY that, with our master of masturbation STAYING ASLEEP, face down on his keys, for another three minutes, after his drum machine has run out of batteries or something. It is just one, lazy, two-note keyboard 'riff' with no accompaniment. Hey, Sleeping Beauty, it's time to GET UP, GET DRESSED, and rush to your code-monkey day-job.

Packaging: 7 - Overall, the sonic aesthetic suits its' album cover of a drab, grey concrete building with mirrored windows, revealing only flourescent overhead rectangles of office lighting.

Composition: 5 - Overall, presentation is okay... but the mixes sound slapped together.

Production: 7 - One way or the other, there's no hiss or static and the recording is clean-edited. This is not very difficult these days with the hardware or software cheaply available to any schmuck with a home studio, though.

Artistic Merit: 6 - This ground is already covered, and far better, by the likes of artists like Carsten Niccolai or Ryoji Ikeda. No less, I wouldn't discourage Datascraper from making more music.

Flow: 6 - I couldn't decide if the tracks had continuity or if they all just sounded the same. No less, a six seems pretty fair.

Overall: 6 - Pretty generous, if I do say so myself.

Mic Litter

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