Lesser - Gearhound
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Lesser
Gearhound

The mind reactes to chaos in very interesting ways. Sometimes, it can focus in on it all and create patterns that it understands, yet other times it simple can't focus on any one thing and it pretty much makes your head hurt. Musically, this is a rather important question to ask yourself whether you decide whether you should even dare take on the music that is made by Lesser. Technically, I would actually guess that probably 95% of people I played this album for wouldn't even call it music anyway. It's fractured and filled with static and stray beats and as mentioned above, sometimes there simply isn't any order for your mind to make sense of.

Needless to say, this is one challenging disc. As a touring member of Matmos and a dabbler in about 10 other projects (including the Metallica cover band Creeping Death and touring with the disbanded A Minor Forest), he definitely has roots in just about every genre, and nearly all of them show up on this disc. Add to that work with Kid 606 and several split singles, collaborative projects and a whole lot of plain messing around, and you've got an eclectic artist that isn't afraid to destroy any conceptions that people may have.

In a sentence, Gearhound is a seriously fsuked album. In 16 tracks that span over an hours time, J Lesser mixes lo-fi electronic, cut-up hip-hop beats, live instrumentation, noise, glitch, ambient, drum and bass, and tons of experimentation into a smorgasboard of wack sounds. Basically, put Squarepusher, Pole, Aphex Twin, Oval, and Pan Sonic into a blender and you're still not anywhere close. I'll give a breakdown of several tracks here, just so you know what you're getting to. In the random spirit of the music itself, I'll just skip all over the place and start with track 7 (named "Intuit Like An Innuit"). After starting out with a barrage of noise bits that sound like someone flipping through the radio dial while at the same time switching stations on the televsion, thing actually drop off into a track with a very cool decontructed hip-hop beat while little skitters of snare rushes and weird samples threaten to derail the whole thing at any point. Track 10 ("40 Day Supply Of Water") mixes live guitar work with frantic reel-to-reel breakbeats and gradually just falls into pieces by the end while Track 5 ("On The Kid's Tip") is nothing more than about a minute and a half of static chatter and high pitched tones that dig into your cranium.

One of the tracks that actually holds onto a bit more structure is also one of the more successful ones. "Hindu Shuffle And Force" mixes up some seriously chopped and garbled beats with a low-end bass pulse that gives the whole thing a rather spooky feel. "Matador Records Tax Deduction" mixes screeching noises, a wicked beat, and all kinds of other stuttering sounds into something that is abrasive and makes more sense than most of the rest of the album at the same time. "Voice Of Reason" also takes sort of a creepy route with eerie chimes and electronic warblings scattered over bizarre vocal samples.

With it's mad jumps and completely cut-and-paste style, the album really is sort of a madcap tribute to gearhounds. Don't even go near this release if you don't have a short attention span (or at least need something you can focus on), because it's constantly changing. I would venture to say that this release will either leave you frustrated and confused, or completely happy that there's finally someone who has tapped into the crazy random noise that is everyday life. Of course, that might be even saying a bit much, as there's definitely a tongue-in-cheek feel to most of Gearhound, but if you can handle the schizo, check it.

rating: 5.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00