Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The grimace works

Cynics may wish to consign blunted and industrial beats from the rave-breaks-hip-hop junction back in the 90s bin where they came from but Michael Forrest has kept the faith in those riddims and in Majectica Electical – his third full-length and available for free download for a while – they’re really made to work. The nuum of rhythmic experimentation may be seen halting but I see no exhaustion from this producer. The glitchy top-end and processed-but-live brass instrumentation still counterpoint the beats, and other elements come to the fore.

Greater weight is given for ‘electronic’ textures; clean lines of output are given space to work as in Dreaming of Polygamy, sometimes allowed to dominate as in Half Blank Face. Mike has also bowed to the beauty of the simple banger, as Horoskope adds snarly bass and the again-acceptable vogue for kicking but not too fast hip-hop beats, and takes a trip to a bastard church in space. Varied time-signatures abound elsewhere, and we still get cacophonic free-for-alls – such as throughout Why Do You Want a Record Deal? (inviting the A&R to say 'you won’t get one with this ‘noise’!, though a wierd shoegazey voice offsets that), and further nagging sounds come in Some Day and the intro of Go Columbo.

Anger Belly – the tune Mike lost the original of last year, the one appropriating the Crazy Frog ringtone – comes down a bpm or two from the version that first went online, makes the main break a bit heavier for the head nodders and there are more strangulated voices towards the end. Its iteration doesn’t lose its sense of irritation, or its pop-dance brilliance.

Earlier this year, Mike left corporate computer world tedium to give himself time to do this properly. With Majectical Electical he is still exploring possibilities and, importantly, having fun with electronic dance music and not refining his sound to any one genre. He is clearly reaping the benefits of not working in one scene, to one template, or by treating the past glories of producer heroes as a venerable canon. For all that though his work over three albums and his auteur-producer vision deserve some context and some wider props. Mike says ‘this is the one’ and I’m loth to disagree, though greater wordsmiths than me will be able to do justice to the depth of experimental musicality at work here.

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Eraserhead Radiator Song reworking
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