Cut Open
Dwayne Sodahberk - Cut Open
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Dwayne Sodahberk
Cut Open

Although he hasn't exactly made a lot of waves (at least compared to artists creating music in a similar genre), Dwayne Sodahberk has been churning out excellent music for several years now, starting out in more of a crunchy IDM realm (Don't Want To Know You) before moving over into skewed electronic pop that incorporates vocals and some more traditional instrumentation (Unfortunately) On this newest release he's joined on vocals by Honey Owens (Jackie O Motherfucker, Nudge), Liz Hysen (Picastro), and Maria Kihlberg. (Revlon 9) for a slew of tracks.

Completed over the course of the past two years, Cut Open is more of what you'd expect for Sodahberk if you've heard him before. He toys with 60s-style guitar melodies, but weaves in some nice programming and processing while nearly always flirting with blasts of feedback and noise. With fifteen songs running just under forty minutes, this newest release is also his most concise and listener-friendly. "Cambiocorsa" opens the release and the warm track finds Sodahberk creating some nice vocal harmonies with Owens as electric guitars alternately stutter and swirl before a freaked-out ending puts a blasting exclamation point on it.

"Praetor" finds him on solo vocals, and guitars that start out understated turn gradually more crispy as the track moves along, finally burying his breathy words after a pretty middle bridge. The playful "Tell Me When You Wake" is another of the album standouts, as two deft guitar parts weave around one another while clicky beats dance around the edges and the addition of Kihlberg on vocals makes for some more nice harmonies.

One interesting thing about the album (and the reason I made mention of "skewed" pop above) is that like his previous release, there seems to be something slightly darker lurking underneath the surface of most tracks. It's partially due to the threat of digital deconstruction shattering a track apart, but it's also because while vocals aren't mixed low, they're usually processed enough that they're hard to understand. Mixed differently (or done by someone else), a track like "Knife Aboard" might sound like something almost radio-friendly, but on Cut Open its a slightly queasy track that encourages humming along with before it devolves into a swirling mass of feedback and backwards loops at the end. If anything, the somewhat downcast nature of the release makes it seem longer than it really is, but with songs averaging just under three minutes apiece, it definitely changes up enough to keep things interesting. Although it seems to have flown under the radar, Cut Open is another fine release from Sodahberk.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2006-09-07 19:36:09