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The Deli Philly's Record of the Month: Wedodo - The THANGS

The Deli Philly's Record of the Month: Wedodo - The THANGS

The THANGSWedodo (Data Graden) is what would happen if Beck had never stopped getting weirder. It’s the logical conclusion of every experimental trip of a band out there: an album that is completely unpredictable, where every instrument, tone and aesthetic is in a state of flux. This isn’t just a weird album but one at the frontier of peculiarity, pushing every single trope of experimentalism to its breaking point.

While most exploratory pieces pick one or two quirks, The THANGS have instead opted to grab as many as they can and transition between them at breakneck speeds. Film audio sampling, futuristic 80’s synth, unorthodox percussion, ethnic chanting, classic rock riffs, and sinister voiceover interludes are all present and accounted for, yet are blended together seamlessly, as in the case of “King of Sound, Prince of Noise.” Its effects are simultaneously mellowing and exhilarating, never rising or falling but consistently going in both directions at once. It’s a melodic speedball.

What should be recognized is how risky something like this can be. Experimental electronica is a delicate balancing act between exploration and sheer composition. The farther an artist ventures off the beaten path, incorporating elements like sampling and mixing counterintuitive aesthetics, there’s a greater necessity for an underlying substance to the composition itself. The weirder you get, the harder it’s going to be to make your music aesthetically pleasing.

And Wedodo earns its indulgences. Behind all of its eccentricities is a rock-solid rhythm. The beats take priority over all else here; though through all the craziness and sampling, one’s head is not allowed to stop bopping for even a second. And it really comes down to what is really an expertly maintained percussion. They don’t falter whether it’s being held by a drum, clapping hands, or in the track “Dusty Rhodes,” what sounds like a cowbell. The THANGS somehow manage to create a consistently pleasing melody from a series of incongruent, even-clashing sounds.

Through its patchwork compositional style and strong continuity, the music takes on a lyrical quality. It conveys a sensibility of wry nihilism and playful, almost whimsical darkness. It’s an odder Flying Lotus (the similarities getting almost eerie in the track “Soft and Warm”), the flair of The Avalanches’ “Frontier Psychiatrist” with the substance of Ratatat. It’s somehow deeply reminiscent of an 80’s video game boss battle, but in a cool way. For a mostly instrumental piece, it’s incredible how strong of a voice Wedodo possesses. - Daniel Ludwig

Published: December 02, 2013 |

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