Posted by: Dominic Umile | 10/14/2009

Published Elsewhere: Deru

DeruMy review of the new record from Deru went live at Remix Magazine’s web site yesterday (UPDATE: read my piece below and download a track, as Emusician is now hosting Remix’s content, and it’s nowhere to be found). After having issued music on Ghostly, Merck and more, Benjamin “Deru” Wynn delivered a set of enigmatic compositions to Mush for his debut on the label, and it’s one of the strongest beat albums from the West Coast–based independent in years.

Deru’s Say Goodbye to Useless is stylish and varied. All of the work that Wynn put in at CalArts (synthesis, signal processing and music theory were among the sciences weighing down his courseload) pays off in steadily developing melodies and clicking delicate arrangements that reveal disparate strains of electronic and hip-hop influences at the album’s every turn.

Even when its surface is crowded with looming, less-active drones—a la Mount Kimbie or The Sight BelowSay Goodbye chills to the bone. Jagged-edged snares and heavy washes on “Hello” and “Days, Then…” are tempered with chimes and warm static loops. Between treated conversation tapes, Wynn’s weathered vinyl crackles and air gusts gather around the sullen, hollow bottom end of “What Happens When You Ask” for maximum creepy effect.

Before long, the somber atmospheres are as rich and as plentiful as the wealth of ideas at work. Positively stifling chords blanket “Walk,” and it’s punctured by shrill clangs and deep bass—for the impatient listener, some of these gradual mopers might at first go down like partially cooked spinach. Wynn’s abrupt sample edits and heavy doses of fractured synth tones are fast-catching, however, and through quality speakers, the flickering beats and dissolving cymbal crashes fizz in and out at a manic, clipped-clean pace. Exhilarating.

Right-click here to download Deru’s magnificent “Peanut Butter and Patience.”

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