Thursday, September 6, 2012

Br'er - Virtual single on Everything is Chemical

Benjamin from Br'er let me know about a free digital EP they released in conjunction with the Everything is Chemical blog, which I was just checking out today. When they mentioned they were applying their dense carnivalesque technique to a Throbbing Gristle cover I had to have a listen. That's another band I've been barely scratching the surface of, the 33 1/3 20 Jazz Funk Greats book waiting on the shelf. The track they cover here is "Persuasion" actually from that album and here they take a minimal electronic approach with guest vocals for Cosey's part in the original and her vocal is breathy, buried in echo, sounding a whole lot sweeter than the source material, which of course equals a perfect demented twist on the original delivery. The plodding glitchy rhythm track is accompanied by whirring mechanics and beaten metal, coming out of nowhere, placing this solidly in a haunted space. Big wave synth slowly leads the beat around, further down that dark path and the vocal heads into the sinister sampled part, and a nearly a capella section. A great update to something that has to be intimidating, where do you approach a cover like that? Capturing the same kind of dread with your own twist. Br'er pulls it off to the point of wanting to reexamine the original, and that's the best kind of cover.
"Dozen Dream" has this great Magnetic Fields style polyrhtyhmic style, somehow crafting a really catchy optimistic feel out of unusual percussion and melody that should be inherently dark. It's heavily electronic but doesn't feel overly programmed or mechanical, just completely bizarre and unique songwriting. Insanely dense remaining essentially pop, somehow like Xiu Xiu, Benjamin is rewriting what pleasurable pop music can be when taken to this single minded endgame. the energy keeps rising on this one all the way to the end. Br'er stays impressively surprising and this one is no exception.

The final track "Empathy" has a real live sound, the dynamics on a loose rattly snare, shuffling around with a delicate harpsichord sounding instrument providing that weirdo turn where you have no idea where this could end up. Benjamin is closely mic'd and brings a vulnerability to the track, on the verge of a raw, naked breakdown. When the first movement slows down, he dives further into those primal polarizing emotions of killing and love. It's always epic, in part to his dreamlike narrative style, and the mastery of every type of instrument. Organic forgotten sounds, massive booming toms...just arranging this is impressive, but the amount of melodies and sounds coming together is solidly orchestral, a huge pallet of melodies. Some people get hung up on a blank page, Br'er on the other hand has a solid, exacting idea of how to fill it.

This one is free at their bandcamp, or listen below:

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