CD, Deadsix Communications, 2008
Genre is a phenomenon mainly created to police the borders of taste, and has little to do with the intent of a musician. However, it becomes necessary to use genre when talking about music, and in some ways genre serves as a supplement to writing music. So it’s kind of silly to talk about how an artist is blurring genres, as talking about an essence of a genre just comes of as lame (what is the essence of IDM?). However, like I said, we always return to genre to describe music and facilitate communication.
With the above concerns in mind I’d like to talk about genre as it pertains to Murder by Static’s fifth album “Exsits.” When I first heard it, I thought it sounded like a drum’n’bass (2 rhythmic loops per track) album, sans bass. This is a problem for me, as I think some basslines could have really improved this release. To fill in the gap of the basslines, most songs have an over compressed hardcore kick. This could partially explain the lack of dynamic range on the album; it’s really fun to look at a spectrum analyzer while listening to this album – as all the levels are maxed out and seem to barely move. Someone definitely went nuts with a compressor.
I would say that worst parts of two genres seem to be mobilized in “Exsits” but, in the end, it somehow seems to work in comfortably within the all-encompassing-generic-scrap-heap category known as IDM. Somehow it all does fit together, and there are a few enjoyable tracks. The tracks “Sylum Gaze” and “Ost” have tinting contrast of atmospheric sounds to mesh with the hardcoresque kick loops. I was also very impressed with the twilight zone theme looped on “Duite” (indexicallity of pop-cultural phenomenon always seems to make music more enjoyable). Overall, the album grew on me as I listened to it, but it definitely has its down points.
This day and age, most IDM tracks have reached lengths of epic proportions – maybe one of the few qualifiers of the genre. “Exsits” seems to run in the exact opposite direction, and most tracks average a bit less then three minutes. This is an upside, as it prevents the listener from getting bored. The short lengths also disguise the minimal character of most songs on the album, as very few loops/events are used in each track. It seems like Murder by Static spent a few months producing loops, and then threw them altogether in an Ableton Live session overnight.
I did enjoy the CD though I think extended track lengths and more events would give each song more character. As IDM it’s somewhat enjoyable, but it seems to incorporate the most boring aspects from other (sub?)genres of electronic music.
— Lemmy S