Parallax Error Beheads You (Vinyl)
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|1. Gum Chimes|
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His third record is a masterpiece of micro-melodies and sound bytes; a triumph of slicing, dicing, and editing. An intricate mosaic of sounds and styles recognizable from the last thirty years of pop, rock, prog, disco, funk, techno, rap, metal, and soul, but many of which are completely new, either by Max recombining genres or by inventing an original one. One song can sometimes sound like seven different bands from totally different worlds playing at once. Just call it cosmic glitch-pop R&B.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Max (Ben Jacobs) hasnt put out an album since 2002's schizophrenic Mastered By Guy at The Exchange, a wonderful albeit slept-on album complete with light and feathery vocals and bouncy Peanuts-style piano lines...Parallax Error Beheads You, though,improves upon anything Jacobs has ever touched...the opening trio of songs are elctro-funk heaven...imagine Prince if he was a white Brit singing about ipods and screwing up badly on dates instead of his usual sexcapades...His singing, meanwhile, has improved along with his musical compositions...resulting in something that strikes as both classically pop but out of left field..."Which Song" "Gum Chimes" and "Will Get Fooled Again" perhaps form the strongest opening trio of songs on any release this year....but "Orphaned" and "Until We Die" are even better, with the former firing small snippets of sound at the listener at a disorienting pace...
Ultimately, Parallax Error Beheads You surpasses other amazing 2008 albums from Deerhunter and No Age by creating something giddy, melodically infectious, and strangeley danceable...The cute lyrics and shimmering, bouncing melodies also prove both warm and inviting....an incredible album...whether it be listened to on your ipod as you walk to class....listened to on your laptop while you finish up a paper at 3 in the morning...or listened to in the company of friends...
Exhibit A: "Which Song" which is both shameless condensation of Michael Jackson's pop hits into a single song and a flexing of Max Tundra's sequencing and electric-chord-progression muscles.
Exhibit B: "Orphaned" which is a demonstration of how CD skips can still make a melody, and a half decent one. Crackle, static, sharply cut-off fragments, sounds out of nowhere, error messages all julienned, diced, and stuck together. Just as you suspect that's the only substance to the song though, it breaks into an actual song with like, lyrics! It sounds like a demonstration of order in chaos.
So yes, it is challenging and non-conforming, in a good way! There is something vaguely lacking pretention of the production, perhaps due to framing classic pop structures in this weirdo song architecture. There are stand-outs, for sure, like the aforementioned "Which Song," but it's an enjoyable romp all throughout.
Max Tundra epitomizes the "theory-over-practice" musician, and while he is very good and talented live--I've seen him perform, and he played about 10 different instruments throughout--his greatest talent lies in creating synthetic symphonies via various degrees of digital and analog manipulation.
Parallax Error is essentially a pop album--albeit pop so multi-layered and processed through so many different sounds that what emerges is an aural orgasm, a textured and mult-headed beast of an album whose individual songs all manage to sound quite different yet share stylistic similarities.
What's so great about Max Tundra is that he comes almost out of nowhere; he's one of those rare artists who fuses many different styles to create something wholly unheard before. He's got some of the beat-heavy noise porn of Aphex Twin, but he sounds nothing overall like Aphex Twin. He's as complex and jazz-influenced as Prefuse 73, but really, it's nothing like that either. Some tracks resemble, on the surface, danceable house music, yet they would never be called house. He sings with the melodic head voice of....I'm not sure who, but it's definitely unique.
Yet overall, despite the music being so inscrutable, Max Tundra sings about familiar, pop themes--heartbreak, the search for love, romantic troubles, death, etc.; and while he sings perhaps in a more heady manner than Britney or Miley, the basic themes of pop are still there, lurking below the surface, and as a lover of pop music, I am compelled to award 5 stars to Mr. Tundra.
I like to think that this is the type of music people on an intergalactic exploration vessel of the 22nd century would be listening to - after all, there would be plenty of time for fun on such a long voyage! Get down and dance like crazy to the many varied beats, or just chill and relax to the complex rhythms. Max Tundra would be the perfect companion on a night out stargazing too, or just as at home laying down the beats on the dance floor at a club. This is a well thought out, well put together album that flows with great energy from start to finish. Engage your senses today!