Artist: The Fucked Up Beat
Release Date: 2015 Jan 03
Genre: Noir Schizo Hop
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Self Release / FMA
The Fucked Up Beat in Europa sees a new level of production and musicality for the duo of Eddie Palmer and Brett Zehner. Previous attempts at framing and explaining how their music works has been difficult, as it always is with artists that have a truly unique vision. But I feel that I can finally put a bit more of a perspective on their work now.
The Fucked Up Beat in Europa
When I wrote about Investigates Strange Weather Patterns and the UFO Cults of Cold War Nevada it was a bit of an overwhelming experience. There were sixteen versions of that release, differentiated only by the artwork and the final track. For this release they have returned to a more traditional format of eleven tracks, and only one version of the release (Europa II, released on the same day is a separate release that I will write about in my next review.)
This release maintains many of the core elements that have made the duo quite successful in creating their unique sound: sampled recordings, field recordings, and other bits and pieces are layered and mixed into a backdrop that provides the uniquely noir-esque feeling for their works. These backdrops are met with their addition of drums, bass, and other instruments to create something that is new, and not merely derivative of the original sources.
But this release feels a lot smoother than previous releases. Like they have worked hard to smooth over some of the rough edges in the editing and mixing that were characteristic of their earlier works. I know to some that may be a bad thing, some artists and listeners like to have the rough edges in place. But on this recording, it feels like Palmer and Zehner have accomplished something, they’ve reached another level they have been trying to get to for a long time.
While this is a change from previous releases, the main things that have inspired The Fucked Up Beat haven’t changed. These are still pieces that take science fiction, conspiracy theories, field recordings, melancholy, pulp fiction, and history, thrown it all into a big melting pot, and scooped out big globs and formed them into musical pieces for our entertainment.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is their penchant for complex, intriguing titles, like ‘Europa / The Umbrella Man’ or ‘Voyager 13 / Monsanto Weather Mods’. The thing that seems to guide this release is an emphasis on space themes for the first part of the titles, and conspiracies or fictions for the second half of the titles.
Europa focuses on rhythmic works. The kinds of pieces that you might find yourself nodding to, or doing a little dance in your chair while listening to them. The accentuated beats feel stronger in this work, but still natural.
The Fucked Up Beat in Europa feels more polished and integrated than previous releases from the duo of Eddie Palmer and Brett Zehner. But this should not be off-putting to fans of this duo. In fact, it should be a reason to celebrate. This is a release that feels like the duo have managed to accomplish something they have been trying to attain with their previous releases. And, even with a bit more polish on these pieces, they still maintain the elements of their unique artistic vision.