Blap to the Future Megamix
In lieu of their first and proper debut EP on LA’s digital B.E.A.R label, San Francisco glitch-inators Lazer Sword have been kind enough to those that know better by whetting our appetites with a 48 minute mixtape chock full of crunchy, cut up remixes and edits that intermingle their signature dissonant space-synth and broken glitch-beat assault with top 40 rap acapellas. While this is far from an original concept, Lazer Sword prove their worth in space credits on this popular medium by sticking to their not-always-so-easy-to-dance-to style and showing both the glitch and hip hop world that they know their way around a wave file.
The tracks on this mixtape follow a linear path straight to bangerville, but the sounds never come across as boring or tired. There are too many screwed up layers and sudden changes in Lazer Sword’s production to allow loss of interest in where they’re taking you with every song; even if it always feels like you’re in a spaceship to planet hyphy. They treat each acapella with almost a hall of fame sort of reverence, allowing the raw vocals to propel and sometimes even carry their tweaked instrumentals. This respect is necessary for Blap to the Future‘s separation from the many other producers that use the electronic-music-with-rap-vocal format. Though it may help them to have popular vocal tracks to help nod your head along with their music it’s by no means a crutch. Instead of sounding like they giggle at each “nigga” or drug-peddling reference over their oscillating synths, you can rest assured knowing that Lazer Sword was nodding their heads to the original tracks before choosing to screw these songs into sweet oblivion.
In short, Lazer Sword is telling you to get ready. They have a lot of ideas, both new ones and revised standards, but if you think they’re going to let them all loose on a mixtape you’ll be happily mistaken. You can tell that Lazer Sword is only just warming up, and, if you’ll take my word, we’re soon to be all the more fortunate for the extra time they’ve taken in crafting their first solo release. In the meantime, enjoy the hell out of Blap to the Future by taking advantage of one of the mixtape’s best qualities; it’s free download available on Lazer Sword’s Myspace page. Peep impending glitch-hop game, son!
– Patric Fallon
(Bailey Park Records, 2007)
Normally, I wouldn’t write a review for an album that I contributed the slightest sound or production idea to, but this time around is different for a few reasons. The first reason is that Tomorrow’s Re-Taken is a remix album composed primarily of source material from singer/songwriter Ian McGlynn’s debut album Tomorrow’s Taken. Reason number two is that the one remix I contributed to this ten song album was produced as Such, Broken Glass which is a moniker I no longer use. The last reason is that my remix was completed over three years ago. From the way the rest of these remixes sound, it’s safe to assume they were all written and finished years ago.
There are a few semi-interesting sounds for the casual listener here, but certainly nothing the seasoned music fan hasn’t heard before. The remixing styles range from 90’s-era, 100% Dance club music to ‘are you kidding me?!’ acid jazz to fake, 80’s post-punk with not a whole lot in between. This motley crew of genres wouldn’t sound so completely off the wall if Ian McGlynn’s most noted influences weren’t the likes of Coldplay, Ben Folds, and The Beatles. I’m sure he got a kick out of hearing his voice and instrumentation re-worked a whole album’s worth, but after the 9 minutes of preset drum and bass that works as the album’s centerpiece I’m quite ready to give Tomorrow… back.
Unless we’re talking about one artist re-writing the entirety of another artist’s record (which would be more of a cover album), a remix album is, by default, a mish-mash of many separate ideas. This common trait makes remix albums appeal to very distinct crowds; the die-hard fans, the remixers of the music, and the writer of the original music. Sadly, I doubt many people outside of those three groups will be looking for Tomorrow’s Re-Taken.
– Patric Fallon
The Worst of Robbie Giant and His Haphazzard Fag Trash Brigade
(A Girl Hurts, 2008)
As the insert of the CD indicates, this group of music isn’t a proper album but a compilation of music artist Robbie Giant recorded with friends between 2003 and 2008. The insert also states the music is of “various genres (and also qualities)”, which is a huge understatement.
It’s almost pointless to give this CD any kind of linear, track by track review. The music follows no specific evolving path, but instead jumps almost bipolarly from noise, industrial, post-garage punk, beat heavy instrumentals, and even guitar-centric ballads. Given the nature of the lyrics and the personal feel of the art, liner notes, and song titles, one can only gather this is a personal collection of music Robbie would most likely give exclusively to friends and family.
The Worst… is a strange portrait of someone who is a lover of nearly all subversive sounds and most definitely aims to share himself and his life experiences. More focus and a bit of help with the technical side of producing could allow Robbie to possibly write albums not unsimilar to those of Xiu Xiu, Julie Ruin, or Suicide.