Fog Ether Teeth

[Ninja Tune; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: turntabalism, experimental hip hop, indie rock, lo-fi
Others: Why?, Hymie’s Basement, The Dirty Projectors

All music artists and groups must have some kind of musical boundaries. Most will stay within the confines of their genre and appeal to create and mould their already established sound. This is evident for artists that have been around for a while and have become comfortable in what they release over and over. While for relatively new artists and groups, each must struggle to adapt to a style and genre to attain a musical goal. This becomes even more evident with sophomore releases as new artists build on the sound of their first album and craft an independent sound that they call their own. 

So as artists accomplish this standardization of sound, some explore deeply in many different musical directions. The results can be totally contradictory. One example is the 1990’s fusion of hip-hop and metal. Most of you will agree that this mix should never be considered entertaining ever again. Other genre experimentation is the mix of folk and electronica. Even the renowned folk-pop artist Mark Eitzel showed us how the mixture of both sounds can create a positive musical experience on his last album, The Invisible Man.

Stretching the boundaries of sound is what mastermind DJ Andrew Broder does well. And on his new release under the moniker Fog, the Ninja Tune’s protégé has expanded his musical periphery and has created a lovely and catchy electro-pop record with his sophomore album Ether Teeth. Fog’s debut album was a beautiful picture waiting to be coloured in. The foundations were established, but the complete fullness of the record was absent. Captivating songs like “Pneumonia” and “Check Fraud” laid the structural design of Fog’s musical approach. Acoustic guitars, drum machines, samples and record scratching were essential elements of the record. Fog was establishing a sound that could be improved with forth-coming releases. 

Ether Teeth is the beginning process of colouring Andrew Broder’s picture masterpiece. The album commences the process of filling in the needed colours of Fog’s musical genre and interpretation. Without losing its foundation created on the debut, boundaries have been stretched slightly to create a more polished and experimental release with Ether Teeth. But unfortunately, Fog has not bitten more than they can chew. The album does not fill the picture completely with stagnant and contemptible songs like “No Boys Allowed” and “I Call This Song Old Tymes Dude” 

Overall, Ether Teeth can be called a work in progress. Fortunately, the album is full of inspirational and brilliant songs like “Cheerupcheerily” and “What a Day Day” to give us a taste of what’s to come with any future releases. Consider Andrew Broder’s picture masterpiece halfway completed. With his ability to stretch his musical boundaries, we will soon be shown a completed work of art that will be inspirational, captivating and dazzling. Until then, Ether Teeth serves us enough bite to satisfy our craving.

1. Plumb dumb
2. What a day day
3. See it? See it?
4. The girl from the gum commercial
5. Cheerupcheerily
6. Under a anvil tree
7. No boys allowed
8. Apologizing to mystery
9. I call theis song old tymes dude
10. Wallpaper sink or swim
11. Cardinal heart

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