The Newcomer EARTH MOTIVATION

[Beatrice & Annie; 2017]

Styles: reconstructed, iconic
Others: James Ferraro, Arca, Lee Gamble

When you begin to read a music review, are you wondering: what is the image of the world this implies? Many of us are locked in a struggle to rediscover the comprehensive worldview. But however we look at it, the world is increasingly like an icon: flat, impermanent, made to be remembered. “Globe logo concept free vector.” Unlicensed and infinitely scalable. To have no required context, like that world we’re beginning to see in a new light.

Opal Tapes appears as Beatrice & Annie; Young Montana? appears as The Newcomer. Like a digital fugue of logos in vector space, brand begets brand in a dance of novelty. Figures blowing in the wind of EARTH MOTIVATION, not yet wholly untethered from their past forms. “FIND ME IN THE AFTERLIFE” and “GOLD FIGURE” are both split, by way of indecisive key changes, into whining, sputtering techno bounce and lower-tempo, bass-driven beats. Real, albeit vocoded and mangled, voices compete with synthetic ones in the singing and moaning of “TIRED EARTH.” Other tracks build tiny steps of sounds and samples to teetering, wonderful heights, like “FUGUE” and the ringing, saturated “IS AS US.” Having emerged from the limiting domain of the “beats producer,” The Newcomer applies some of the old tricks of instrumental rap to something both compositionally and sonically more abstract, torn from the embrace of that horizon into new orbit.

The gallop of “GO▒D FI▒▒RE” is shallow and surrounding. Like the vectorized globe on the cover, it twists, paper-like, around you, between husk and canopy. “PLURA FORCE,” on the other hand, moves with something like locomotive rhythm, a substantial haze of steam and mechanism, pierced in its climax by a detuned lead synth line that evokes Arca circa Stretch. These are beats in more or less the same way that those early Arca tracks were; they could be, but they could be a lot of things. To their faraway light, our world is all glossy and flat.

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