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Myxomy

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cover imageThis is one of those rare collaborations in which I had absolutely no idea what kind of album to expect, as the only obvious common ground this duo shares is a strong interest in sound design, though it is probably safe to say they are both drawn to unusual projects too given their past involvement with Rắn Cạp ĐuôI Collective.  Now that I have heard Myxomy, however, I am faced with the fresh challenge of describing a vision that is elusively shapeshifting, kaleidoscopic, and wrong-footing from start to finish.  I suppose the most consistent aesthetic is something akin to "half-deconstructed/half-maximalist outsider R&B" or some similarly heretofore nonexistent genre, but the real theme seems to exclusively be one of endless mutation.  In fact, the idea for the collaboration originally began with James Ginzburg sending Ziúr some beats from his early techno days, which triggered a dueling exchange of raw material reworkings that rapidly escalated and morphed until the "duo's fragmented sketches and scribbles took on new life" that "developed into anxious, hybridized pop jewels."  To be fair, Myxomy is admittedly poppier than I ever would have anticipated, but this project is waaaaay too weird, fractured, and unpredictable to ever be mistaken for actual pop (jewels or otherwise).  It mostly feels more like a handful of hooks wandering through a collapsed post-industrial landscape in search of a proper home.  I am not sure any of them ever quite found one (seems doubtful), but some of these experiments are impressively visceral and unique in their own right (even if they can sometimes be a real challenge to digest).

Subtext

I suspect the title of the opening "Sloppy Attempt" provides some self-deprecating insight into the mindset that Ginzburg and Ziúr brought to the Myxomy vision, as it seems like the pair genuinely delighted in breaking and stretching each other's work and all other concerns were purely secondary.  That is not intended as a disparagement, but the primary pleasures of this album are definitely in the vein of "this is a playground where songs convulse and break in interesting ways" rather than "check out all these hot new singles we wrote."  Helpfully, "Sloppy Attempt" is also one of the more representative pieces on the album, as a blooping synth hook seems to keep wandering off course rather than locking into a groove.  Nevertheless, a groove eventually does take shape (albeit fitfully) and the piece blossoms into a seething and moody song of sorts.  In the rare moments where the beat does not collapse and the bass line is allowed to unfold naturally, it is not hard to see the ghost of a much catchier song lurking inside it all, but the overall impression is one of a remixer purposely stretching and pushing that hapless piece past its breaking point to see what happens. 

The following “A Little Opaque” takes a similar trajectory, as a squirming and glistening synth pile-up sluggishly lurches forward along with spectral vocals and thudding, slow-motion drums.  Naturally, every time it threatens to catch fire, it quickly gets pulled apart, ravaged by static, smeared, or broken in some way.  "Make self-sabotage an art form" definitely seems to have been a guiding principle here.  That said, the following three-song run can be quite impressive at times.  The hot streak begins with "In and until," which sounds like a howling, junkyard percussion variation upon the massive rattling metal strings of Ginzburg's last solo album (Crystallise, A Frozen Eye).  Next, "It is it everything" unleashes an absolutely killer motif that sounds like a haunted, lysergically smeared vibraphone enhanced with lots of wonderfully clattering and ringing metallic textures.  It is a bit too sizzling and erratic to make a strong single though, which seems like a real missed opportunity.  In fact, I strongly feel it deserves its own remix album (collaborative cannibalization is in Myxomy's DNA, after all).  Elsewhere, the heavy industrial crunch of the following "Toxin Out" admittedly feels closer to earthquake than groove, but it is damn hard not to be charmed by the rousing chorus of "eat the rich and throw up on the fuckbois."   The closing "Nuance Unseen" (another self-deprecating title) is also quite enjoyable in a seething/clattering/industrial-damaged R&B way and makes some more fine use of howling violin.  If someone threatened to kill me if I did not choose a single for this album, I would probably pick that one.  For the most part, however, Myxomy's pleasures lie primarily in hearing Ginzburg and Ziúr inventively mangle each other's work and veer quite far off course from their expected terrain (though fans of Ben Frost-style seismic intensity will likely find much to appreciate in that regard too).

Samples can be found here.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 November 2021 12:03  


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