Sat Aug 21
1800 E Burnside
PREDICTABILITY IS SO predictable. We all knew the second Strokes record would sound exactly like the first Strokes record because Julian and his boys are predictable. Regardless of the whiskey and pills posturing, they're safe. There's no inner conflict or turmoil; no reason to fix what ain't broke. And yeah, the Strokes are just an example, but how many bands can you count on to be count-on-able and never break the mold? Too many. Even some of the great ones.
Baltimore dude--now living in Chicago--Rjyan Kidwell calls himself Cex, but only by convenience. See, there really is no definitive Cex; it's just a brand, something to umbrella things under while he battles his shoulder devils/angels and jumps genres every record. He's been the jester-y hiphop guy talkin' ghetto fab and obsessed with fame. He's made cranked up laptop noize. He's done pop, folk, industrial, and party rap. It's almost always a step into darkness, untested ideas and sounds.
So he changes, rearranges, freaks his audience out, writes contradictory existential navel gazers in the guise of dark wave IDM--it's a constant flux. Of course, sometimes shit doesn't work. Sometimes his music just blows. As much as his Jade Tree rec Maryland Mansions was interesting for sounding like Nine Inch Nails, it felt battered by an identity problem. Was this an indierocker's faux-goth joke? A second-guessing hiphop kid that really wanted to chill out and sing? A Trent Reznor fanboy dicking around in Pro Tools?
But I have faith. I have faith because I've seen this kid do incredible stuff. I also have faith because Kidwell--so wracked by his own brain, so crazy with reinvention--makes me think there's some big stuff going on inside that head, new ideas that will fuse together (he's only what? 21? 22?) and drop a record that will fuck our shit up. Or maybe not. Maybe unpredictability is the new predictable and homeboy's just playing the game, loading the basses with the full, battle-smart confidence of clearing the field.