platters (2006-47)

I Wanna Rock!

Not so fast. Infradig, Kompakt and Subtle give us some avant-rhythms

Infradig

By that definition, the new album by Chattanooga’s Infradig, The Psychology of Breathing (Clinical Indifference) , is wallpaper, but it’s wallpaper with discernable focal points. Some of them are like funky mirrors, darkly atmospheric melodies that bend and shift in kaleidoscopic patterns, in and out of focus. Others are more calculated; keyboard samples create a cohesive framework for jazzy freefalls and perceptible digital textures.  

The difference, of course, is that with Infradig, there’s a band of live musicians behind the curtain, replicating in real time those sound fields that are typically dominated by electronica. It’s not easy—one gets the feeling that the band probably has a few degrees in music theory and jazz comp collecting dust under the bed—but it conveys a kind of emotion that the knobs and buttons of traditional electronic music will never be able to reproduce.

Various Artists

Now, please don’t interpret the above text as a dismissal of Kompakt Total 7 , the latest in a long-running series of double-disc samplers released by the label. The compilation provides a wide buffet of electronically produced musical comforts; elevator music that really sounds like elevators, fax machines, and modems quietly and contentedly performing their robotic duties. With Total 7, Kompakt has become the Ikea of minimalism, delivering a durable and well-designed product at a price we can all afford.  Now that’s modernity at its finest.

Subtle

Take a ride on “Middleclass Kill,” complete with roborhythms, mechanically crushing through the scattershot beats. Delicate layers of Doseone’s hypnotic rhymes encapsulate the song, slightly feathering the controlled insanity. His words, which are oftentimes as effective as background noise as they are at conveying actual meaning, bounce around—sometimes aimlessly—like electrons skipping up to a higher orbit.

Dose is unmatched as a frontman and wordsmith. And the flow only gets smoother. On Subtle’s last album, A New White , Dose could slip into sedate Morse Code when he rhymed, sailing off towards La-La Land, just flowing aimlessly. It all sounded good, but he didn’t exude the same kind of awareness of his talent that you’ll find on this album. The beats are more manic when needed. Everything is just thicker, playing it up for a lyricist who has managed to control his incredible power.

And when he needs to fly, Dose’s words come out faster than ever, bleeding into one another, sounding like a single, elongated utterance. Maybe it’s a spiritual thing. Don’t bother decoding each delicate detail—there isn’t enough time. This record just needs to happen, one song at a time.