Safety Scissors - Parts Water
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Safety Scissors
Parts Water

M Patterson Curry understands glitch music, and probably to the chagrin of some hardcore electronic music geeks, he also understands the value of a pop song as well. For some reason, when plowing through different message boards online and reading different things in print, there are still people who can't stand it when electronic musicians have vocals in their tracks. They think that somehow it makes them "less serious" or "less viable" as electronic musicians if they for some reason include something as organic as the human voice in their music, and it chuffs them the wrong way.

Granted, I can't imagine the day that Autechre would have discernable vocals in their songs, but there have definitely been artists who have pulled it off successfully (in my mind) without damaging their "cred" one bit. Sure, I didn't care for the majority of The Orb's inclusion of vocal bits on Cydonia, but that's because their tracks came out sounding like things you could turn on the radio to any old station and hear (and don't even get me started on Orbital's horrible collaboration with David Gray on their The Altogether). DNTEL (who shares labels with Safety Scissors), however, proved last year with his Life Is Full Of Possibilities that it's possible to create something not only invigorating, but downright innovative.

Parts Water is along the same lines, although it takes a completely different route in getting there. As mentioned above, Curry takes a touch of glitch, a touch of dub, and a dash of several other styles to create a simmering batch of songs that again have the age-old concept of water as their centerpoint. The album starts out with the shimmeying "Two Letter U's," and the short track actually only gains balance a couple short times, while lurching back and forth on off-kilter rhythms. "A Wash" starts out a little on the darker side, but soon morphs into a warm, gurgling track with a downright toe-tapping rhythm. It's on "Stormy Weather," though, that the pop sensibilities really start to shine through. Mixing a funky click-hop rhythm and a rather simplistic keyboard melody with squiggles and glorps for punctuation, Curry adds some detached vocals that will get stuck in your head for weeks.

The upbeat sound continues on the downright dancey "7 Glasses A Day/7 Days A Week," as it rolls with another rollicking beat and some dubby elements all twitched out that make the track sound sort of like something Pole would do if he lightened up a bit. Although I mentioned that Curry uses vocals in his tracks, he's actually very judicious, never over-using anything, yet giving things a nice touch when needed. On "Your Beautiful Feet," he drops oddly surreal lyrics about enveloping an object of desire while on "(Water)Phone" the theme is broken communication and a skewered Peter Hook-esque bassline even enters the track at one point.

I don't know if it's because something like 80% of the earth is water, or that 80% of the human body is as well, but for some reason the theme never really grows tiresome. For hundreds of years, people have been writing and singing songs that have at least something to do with it, and now Parts Water has taken it into the electronic realm. Like Mouse On Mars, (which the closing track "Mirror(Wet)" resembles in style) Curry also knows that it's possible to have a bit of fun in the process.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00