Kid606 Songs About Fucking Steve Albini

[Important Records; 2010]

Styles: ambient, electronic, glitch
Others: Oval, Fennesz, Cex, Tangerine Dream

After spending the early 00s releasing albums, singles, EPs, and remixes as fast as he could record them, Kid606 slowed his output in the latter half of the decade. I missed the 2009 release Shout at the Döner and its attendant remixes, and I didn’t spend a lot of time with Pretty Girls Make Raves (2006), making Resilience (2005) the last album by Miguel De Pedro’s alter ego I was familiar with. Five years is a long time as popular music goes, especially in the finicky realm of electronic music, so I was excited and curious to hear what his new release would sound like.

Happily, Songs About Fucking Steve Albini sounds both the same and different, reliable old Kid trying out some new tricks. And the good news is that his sense of humor remains intact, as you might have noticed by the album’s attention-grabbing title and artwork, which refer to the analog nature of the recording, not because it sounds anything like Big Black. De Pedro must see this as a sort of analog concept album, or at least think it noteworthy enough to include the sole liner note: “All songs on this album were created with analog source material (analog synths, AM/FM radio, microphone) then processed on a computer, then mixed and mastered to two-track analog tape.” This knowledge encourages me to hear a little more early Tangerine Dream influence in “Dim Ego Prelude” and “Odd Ripe Legume” than there probably really is, but “Eerie Gold Dump” and “Purge Deem Idol” don’t really differ much from other presumably digital-based Kid606 tracks.

Overall, though, Songs is more ambient than glitch, which is appropriate since it’s released on experimental label Important. There’s a wealth of noisy atmospherics and clicks and cuts, and if you didn’t know these were recorded and edited digitally, you likely wouldn’t have guess as much. There’s nothing resembling a beat here, unless you count the skipping record sound and loops that run through “Lou Reed Gimped,” which provide about the only rhythmic elements on the whole album. The music wavers between relatively calm waters and rougher, choppier spots, and at 72-minutes, there’s room enough on Songs for all kinds of sounds and experiments, occasionally at the expense of consistency and mood. It can make it kind of rough going in a single listen.

The 15-minute “Periled Em God” is the standout track for me, a Reichian phase-shifting piece that takes advantage of its length to stretch out and create a hypnotic feel. It flirts with the blissier end of IDM, but it also mercifully lacks the slow, sleazy beat that would make it a favorite in the chill-out room. Like much of the album, it’s just plain lovely, a nice surprise for those faked out by the aggression of the title and the inner drawing of a bowtied St. Bernard sodomizing a Manga Albini.

Links: Kid606 - Important Records

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