Thursday, July 1, 2010

hair_loss - The Initial Everything's Wonderful [No Label]

Electronic music has making a big splash in the under-ground lately. I’m feeling too lazy to go into examples now but there’s plenty of upcoming reviewables that fit that tag. hair_loss (no caps when you spell the man’s name) is Tyler from Philly noise rock duo Snowstorm as well as Philly spacey electronic duo Color is Luxury and the Philadelphia underground seems like the one place that has always worn its electronic influence proudly on its sleeve.
Anyhow, The Initial Everything’s Wonderful is hair_loss’s first LP, a hyper-limited self-released affair. “The Descent to Incline” kicks off the first side in mellow fashion with a looped wash of guitar fuzz and a slowly emerging drum machine. Strange percussive scrapes and other noises appear and get jiggy before fading. The last quarter brings a loop of an odd synth bend and a more pumped up beat. There’s a change-up for the last thirty seconds, which, after a quick of bit tactile, material abuse, slows the track down. “Fine Breasts, Creased Pages” starts with a solo Velcro synth tone that’s stuttering all over the place until settling into a kind of two-step. Around the halfway point the piece starts getting really groovy but falls back into stuttering static before a last dash to the finish line. “Sweep for a Quarter (Joe Lentini edit)” is a jiving dance floor pumper featuring a skittering sine tone and a heavy synth kick. A really fun piece for sure though it lasts a mere 1:15. “Spot Behind the Left” is even shorter at about 40 seconds. It’s the only track with vocals, a distorted speedy rap over a simple synth pulse. “…Where You Headed?” is focused more on synthwork than anything else turning into a Sun Ra-ish whirlwind key smash at the end.
My favorite track on the record, “Hereditary” starts off the second side. Constructing its beat from shards of distorted electronics, there are a lot of things going on. A snare hit shifts it up to groove mode and then samples of recordings of a padlock being thrown around a locker room are cut up and looped. The second half brings a great Timbaland-style counter melody that gets pitch-shifted all over the place as the beat pounds away. The piece features an extended comedown turning the piece from abrasive to rather nice. “Lisp/Leave Away the Way it is” cuts up an opening synth part that sort of hovers obliquely for a little while until a beat coalescing from a variety of sound sources gets its ass in motion. I think it might have the densest texture on the record. “Open Furnace” is a fitting title for the final piece as it’s definitely the most abrasive and distorted track. It still features a great throb under all the grainy fuzz though and the beat is generally able to cut its path through the thick swathes of feedback.
Due to the release date being pushed back because pressing plant issues, Tyler whipped up the freely downloadable Triple Whippit EP as an apology. The release is only about 5 minutes and the 3 minute main attraction is “Monitor Fucked.” Jumping with a seasick 808, the jam launches into a gritty synth-bassline and accompanying synthetic manipulation. There’s an effective scatterbrained synth shower near the end too. “Melanoma” is a brief, frantically manipulated beat and “Kraken Worship” is a pretty bad ass little groove at just over a minute. Hear it for yourself.
I admire hair_loss’s brevity, half the tracks clock in around 90 seconds or less, but there are definitely times I’d like to hear a track developed further or run longer. Although I’m always a big proponent of “leave ‘em wanting more” so I shouldn’t be hypocritical. hair_loss has an interesting brand of what I’m gonna call “in-yr-face dance” (not to be confused with Corky St. Clair’s “in your face theater”) and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how the project advances further.

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