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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Bobby Karate
Hot Trips, Cold Returns
Woodson Lateral Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The state of electronic music today exists in fragments and blips, at least within the indie/IDM (I hate that term) school of the genre. It seems that every album that comes out finds artists taking their cues from the Mouse on Mars/Aphex Twin/Matmos collection. Sometimes this is boring and redundant and sometimes it is full of electro-freshness, beats that are cut and pasted with the exact precision or complete lack of that makes math equations spin in your head while your toes tap and your head bobs. Bobby Karate, the alter-ego of Seattle producer Steven Ford, has for the most part accomplished something interesting and consuming with this release, Hot Trips, Cold Returns, even if it is a style you have heard before. He only came into the whole blip-hop thing in 1999, but this album sounds as if he was breaking beats back when Kid 606 was still rockin' Cross Colors.

The album starts off with the cut up "Seldom is Far Too Often," which plays with echo effects within its abnormal time signatures and beat patterns. The same basic formula is followed throughout the LP to different effects. "Onward Argentina" employs a very subtle bass backbeat underneath it while "Being Lovely" finds a 4/4 house structure holding up the walls. "Second Best Pony Ride" gets totally blipped out by employing the freakier side of experimental electronics and "Jeff, Suzanne and Gida" is awash in waves of static sound that soothe while they irritate.

Bobby Karate, along with his peers of the experimental e-music scene, is looking at the genre through a long-lens postmodern microscope, deconstructing while he innovates. But forget all that because this style either rocks or it doesn't. And if it doesn't, it either lulls you into a somnolent state or just plain bores you. Hot Trips, Cold Returns sucks your energy as it shoots it back into your skull, and the experience is good.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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