Despite all noble efforts to keep up with the new music of a given year, it often seems the records that completely consume my listening world are the ones that I don’t hear until early in the proceeding year. For 2013/14, Jib Kidder’s (real name: Sean Schuster-Craig)IV is undeniably that record.
Like many of TMT’s favorite albums of 2013 and Schuster-Craig’s other work, IV relies heavily on the re-contextualizing power of sampling. There are elements of both Andrew Pekler’s artful deconstruction and Dean Blunt’s ad hoc appropriation in Schuster-Craig’s approach, but the music that he creates with these techniques bears little resemblance to either of those artists. Instead, Schuster-Craig repurposes indistinguishable bits of rock music as the accompaniment for his own infectious power pop. Part of what makes IV so remarkable is how seamlessly Schuster-Craig’s organic instrumentation and songwriting is used in conjunction with his sampling.
Like Dean Blunt’s The Redeemer, it’s possible to ignore the sampling element altogether because of the structural integrity of both artists’ songwriting, but closer inspection of tracks like “Coincidence,” “Living in U,” and “New Crimes” reveal the hidden mutant aspects of Schuster-Craig’s pop. “Coincidence’s” drums are clearly culled entirely from some drum solo breakdown and as a result sound totally fucked when focused on. Similarly, “Living in U” plays with the odd metrical possibilities of a re-articulated drum loop in the context of Americana tinged pop while “New Crimes” blurs the lines between the acoustic space of a sampled loop and live instrumentation with it’s reverberant shoegaze. All of these moments are handled with the utmost subtlety and Schuster-Craig’s ability to imperceptibly create bedroom pop out of the forgotten moments in others’ songs illustrates the depth of his sampling prowess. It may be too late for IV to be your favorite record of 2013, but now seems like the perfect time for it to dominate your 2014 listening habits.