Thursday, April 26, 2012

Power Animal – Exorcism (Crash Symbols, 2012)

Power Animal is the solo project of Keith Hampson from the Philly area. We received this tape from Decoder magazine’s cassette imprint Crash Symbols. “Better Water” features swells of synths and vocals being played backwards, a technique which for some reason I often enjoy. Underneath the bed of synths and the vocals enters a skittish drum set, giving the dronier vibe of the tune a more rocking beat to it. “Rough Year (Interlude)” has a more drum machine and glitchy quality filled with intermittent samples. The piece gets pretty groovy around a minute and a half in, when polyrhythms develop on the vibraphone, drum machine, and maybe a synth. “Mold Spores” consists of crunchy drum machine textures mixed with synth and banjo (?) instrumentation. “Bow and Arrow” is introduced by beautiful acappella vocals soon joined by down to mid tempo drum machine distortion. The title track, “Exorcism” incorporates military marching band style snare rhythms mixed with a 4/4 house beat. Hampson’s lyrics give all the tracks a unique pop sensibility amongst all of the sample-delica.

The B side of the tape features remixes of the first five original tracks by a variety of artists. “Better Water (Lushlife Remix)” is kind of a more tripped out, delayed out take with a glittery, descending sample and down tempo, funk/r&b drum machine. “Bow and Arrow (Melting Season Remix)” is also funkier on the drum machine, joined by digital shaker percussion and bassy synth tones. I really enjoy “Exorcism (Spirituals Remix)” for its chopped yet gentle vocal edits, groovy drum samples, and for really doing justice to and maintaining the integrity of the original vocal melody. It definitely represents what a good remix should be. Somehow it even manages to subtly throw in free jazz sax skronk in there as well, and it works.

Cassette for purchase:

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