Cex - Oops, I Did It Again
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Cex
Oops, I Did It Again

Ah, these crazy kids today and their music. Rjyan Kidwell, otherwise known as Cex is only the tender age of 19, but he's already been putting out electronic music for several years now. Starting with a self-released CDR, then moving on to numerous single releases, remixes, and a debut album, he's one of a batch of young artists throwing a monkey in the wrench of electronic music and instead of turning up his nose and becoming reclusive like some more well-known artists, he's created sort of a stir within the genre for his live shows and interaction with fans.

The main reason for this is that although he plays some of his music at live shows, he also freestyle raps in ways that range from downright juvenile and silly to taking serious swipes (and being very humorous in the process) at the so-called IDM establishment. He plays it both ways, creating a live persona that's an over-the-top performer with gold teeth, yet comes across as a normal guy who enjoys a good game of dodgeball and making sketch movies with his friends on his website.

Like his personality, the music on his second full length release Oops, I Did It Again, is refreshing. It's experimental enough that everything doesn't go down with a sugary coating, yet it's playful enough that it doesn't hurt your head. Oh yeah, and there's still a touch of juvenile humor on the disc as well, just so you remember who you're dealing with. In fact, the first track on the album finds Kidwell warbling out the incredibly un-P.C. song "(You're) Off The Food Chain" with just an acoustic guitar and scratchy vocals, which would probably be a bit confusing if it were the first thing you'd heard by him.

Beyond that point, though, the album goes into what Cex does best, and that's interesting electronic music. "Eleven Million Dollars Worth Of Bearer Bonds" builds up slowly with fractured beats and some haunting melodies before going hard scattershod at the end and completely shaking things down. On "Destination: Sexy," he adds a bit more of a hip-hop touch to the beats, and although the track stays slightly menacing sounding, there's a skit that comes late in the track that will have you giggling.

Kidwell also pulls off some more subtle sounds as well, mixing some nice acoustic guitar bits into things on tracks like "First For Wounds" and "Not Trying," while landing in more melodic, Boards of Canada-esque territory on tracks like "I Don't Think You Do Sin, Julia." Overall, the release is a very solid disc and mixes up several styles without ever taking itself too seriously. Although his live stage antics get talked about a lot, it wouldn't mean anything if he didn't make good music to back it up, and that's just what he's done again with this release. Besides, at the rate he's going, he's just going to get better.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-28 00:00:00