Where Was I?
bEEdEEgEE is an offshoot of the New York-based experimental electronic band Gang Gang Dance, the solo project of founding member Brian DeGraw. He’s a man who clearly has a lot to say and apparently couldn’t get enough of his shakes out while working with the band. He needed to get weird in his own way. Enter SUM/ONE. Anyone who is familiar with the Gang Gang Dance sound will know what to expect from SUM/ONE. It’s strange and sometimes abrasive– a landscape in which things rarely make sense. It is party music boiled down for the ease of packaging and transport and reconstituted for instant gratification. It comes close to inducing a hangover.
However, whereas party music is generally centered around intense beats and catchy samples, bEEdEEgEE approaches the style from a more avant-garde angle. His songs are obscure, eccentric and they often take a minute or two of hazy wandering just to get up to speed. On top of this, the songs change direction so many times that they have all the consistency and cohesion of a dog chasing its tail in zero gravity.
“Helium Anchor” opens with a guided meditation tutorial that blurs into a weird looping of samples and bright piano melodies with a stilted drumline somewhere in the back. As soon as it kicks up, it dips down into a deeper hip-hop sound with clashing metal and sexy moans on loop before ratcheting into a refrain of orchestral hits with violins and party chants peaking through. By the time you reach the end, you can’t remember where you started. The rest of the album fills out the whirlwind of sensory overload formula that is introduced in the opening track. Expect to hear sounds that resemble a tribal children’s choir, a Persian synthesizer solo or a tuned down air-raid siren– one non sequitur after another. SUM/ONE is as unpredictable as it is varied, but there is a constant feeling of the album not quite pulling itself together. Like a pizza with every possible topping, it quickly gets sloppy and difficult to consume.
Though it has a DJ/party vibe running throughout, SUM/ONE is also packed with moments that would kill any dance floor. It sounds like a night of Jello shots, cigarettes and strobe lights, and maybe something happened in an alley later. You can’t really remember.