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(A)Pendics.Shuffle / Safety Scissors - Helicopter Hearts / Tainted Lunch

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Artist: (A)Pendics.Shuffle / Safety Scissors

Album: Helicopter Hearts / Tainted Lunch

Label: Orac

Review date: Dec. 11, 2005

Two artists and two albums that share a fondness for frisk and humor in dance music. (A)Pendics.Shuffle is one of Kenneth Gibson’s many pseudonyms; it’s probably his most fulfilling, focusing on tightly scripted and edited micro-funk whose rhythms are obsessively compulsive, as though they can’t settle in their chair for a second. Gibson favors cut-up approaches when filling the mise-en-scene – his editing often follows a path laid out by Todd Edwards and Akufen, with snatches of voice, cable-buzz and electronic hiss strewn through the tracks like detritus from a comet’s tail. Gibson will sometimes drop everything into a vat of metallic reverb, as on “Your Words Are Necessary” where sparking, iridescent stars are whirred out of orbit and splayed across the horizon. At other points, he grabs a baby’s fist of sound and rubs it over beats that careen from 4/4 to schaffel with the unpredictability of a sparking cable-wire (“Garbanzo Love”). Helicopter Hearts isn’t consummate, but it’s fun, and makes a good case for the ongoing relevance of this particular approach to post-glitch house and Techno.

Gibson helps with the production on Safety Scissors’ Tainted Lunch, the second full-length from Matthew Curry. I’ve always thought Safety Scissors sounds better dropped on a compilation, an odd song here or there, the bright light peeking out of the shade of IDM; Tainted Lunch confirms my suspicions that Curry can’t cut it over the full-length. He’s also decided to ‘go pop,’ but I never thought of pop as short-hand for infantilism, and the humor and play at the heart of Tainted Lunch goes nowhere and does nothing. There are occasional moments where Curry’s bland vocal delivery becomes oddly affecting, as on the blighted romance of “Where Is Germany And How Do I Get There?,” but he too often coasts the ingratiatingly trite musical accompaniment with a kind of ‘precious blasé.’ But it’s the tweeness that galls most. I think Tainted Lunch wants to be wryly humorous, even a little affecting, but these 10 unfulfilling songs come off as clutch notes for geektronica joke acts. Chuckle softly, laptop brethren, your gags are funny for all the wrong reasons.

By Jon Dale

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