Album Review

Brotman & Short – “Distance Unknown” – [Chondritic Sound]

Thurston Hunger   3/27/2014   12-inch, A Library

On the Max & Mara project, Max Brotman showcased a florid
and varied approach of synths (with help from Mara of
course). Here we’ve got some monomaniacal mad scientist
keyboard work, old skull equipment, pitch wheel dementia,
gritty buzz waves sawing at the ears, in short a raw,
authentic recall of synth punk. Drum machines smack songs
along, and those songs like to work with inverting riffs or
half-step melody slides. Vocals are deader than dead pan,
with a slight hint of anger and disgust. What I expect
will be the first emotion a robot will feel. If you don’t
like the singing, your loss but there are four factory
tested instrumentals (oddly labeled with Roman Numerals
instead of SCCS versions). From those I and II have a
nifty pong-gone-wrong break out beat. The title track
may multiply your Joy Division sensors. I’m actually not
sure where Brotman leaves off and Jesse Short starts,
so that’s the sign of a pretty aligned pairing. My
kids are into the video game “Portal 2” to me this
album captures how it might really feel to be in such
a world. Anthems for the digital dystopia.

-Thurston Hunger

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