Thursday, May 30, 2013
Ben Zimmerman - self released
That expression “Less is more” can do more for a single than just another sketchy sleeve drawing of pot leaves or skateboards. Sometimes just a plain white inner sleeve and a xerox insert with nothing more than a name and bandcamp address is enough to set that seven inch apart from the pile and is even more surprising then when the first seconds of this damaged Dirty Beaches dance pop sound from Ben Zimmerman somewhere in Brooklyn.
A-Side "Heartbreak" started out with a heavy sample loop that reminded me of Enigma (I had to look that up its been a while). A solid kick/snare base for a mix of weird electric samples chilling away in something of a mechanical psych. Ben’s vocal is buried with effects in a low register sounding like a hazy Magnetic Fields or Peter Murphy in a tiny metal cave. It’s a heavily emotional delivery over an alien impression of future disco. The guitar / synth samples chime in with the combined sound of something trying to emulate that pop 40 sound, taking cues and faded memories of an ‘80s polish but being made up of such fragments and inferior sources, it ends up more bizarre. Big delay echoes, break beat with warbled guitars on the edge of human performance, like Mattress or Love Handles, it’s a sort of not as obvious Ariel type of sound, especially this baritone "Please hold my hand". I can't help but hear some kind of joke, but then its completely sincere, the line isn't clear, but he's got the conviction for both. It’s a parody or serious tribute; I think something that raises these kinds of questions has some interesting things happening. The repeating riff that started out so great has nowhere to go but down. Which it never does. It just degrades into choppy low sampled bits giving away its cards. I know what I am: a junked together half machine, half person. Don't mind me, someday my scrap friends and I will be taking over the city.
B-Side ""Lover" has a messy electric jangle like something from Pink Reason, a heavy delay on the chime tambourine shaker with loops of disjointed windy sources. Fade in on Ben's vocalizations, a huge delay humming, echoed and bouncing, jammed under a heavy dose of haze. This time he's seriously into deconstructing the genre and this pathetic acoustic /electric strum. He falls love with a weird sound, then piles on random ideas of dancing and rhythm that shouldn't fit. Like Twin Peaks - here's this nice suburban outsider-logging town but there's something off. Don’t look past the surface; this music and characters are off. Logs can talk. An unearthed Bauhaus 4 track experimental project, an alternative future outsider sound and nothing at all to let you know this kind of idiosyncratic insanity is happening inside.
No ideas how to get a copy of this, but here’s his twitter and bandcamp, send him an email.