Thursday, June 14, 2007

Atlas Sound / Mexcellent

Fractal Tracks / Cornbread Jungle split 12-inch EP
Hoss Records

Sometimes the songs that don’t fit into the larger picture are just as important as the recognized accomplishments in understanding an artist’s drive. Atlas Sound is the solo moniker for Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox, left to his own devices to sculpt clutter, surface noise and low-fi pop songs that billow in clouds of dreamy, dust-bunnies-on-the-needle beats. “(F. Grey)” is a skeletal version of Deerhunter’s “Fluorescent Grey” channeled through an acoustic guitar over a brittle falsetto voice, stretching deep into the void. A strong hint of David Bowie circa “Major Tom” lingers in the drones that burst open between each strum and coo, but Cox’s ruminations emanate from a much farther out place in the cosmos.

Strung-out ambiance follows, creating an atmosphere of dirty and drug-addled bliss, highlighting a pronounced, albeit obscure side of Cox’s songwriting that pulls from a different palette than Deerhunter’s songs.

On the flipside, Atlanta duo Mexcellent (R. Mexico and V. Fajito) taps into a much darker strain of echoing resonance by drawing out a bleak, industrial slur. “Rhonda’s Price” is the soundtrack to a bad trip. “RGDWTJPM” flourishes in the dark, soft lumber of electronic music circa 1981. If pioneering electro subversives, such as Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Throbbing Gristle and the likes had gazed into a crystal ball only to see crunk staring back at them from decades in the future, their interpretations might have sounded something like this. But Mexcellent reverses the flow, and the technology at hand plays a big role in sculpting these scraping sounds. Voices and digitally deconstructed samples from the musical Chicago melt into a magnificent jumble of blackened and abstract beats that are chopped, screwed and drowning in morphine reverb.

--Chad Radford