Cex
Role Model
Tigerbeat6
2000
C+



for all you kids out there that haven't been on the IDM tip of things, which is... well... uh... 99% of you, the genre is called Intelligent Dance Music. Pretentious, huh? Even better, the guys that create the music are, almost always, protective of their privacy and never interact with the public that buys their music. When they do go on tour they are usually hidden by their laptops and noncommunicative with the fans.


Now, the fans aren't much better. As any IDMer can tell you, going to an IDM show is a lot like that one Saturday Night Live skit where William Shatner goes to the Convention and is deluged by arcane questions about the show. Most banter between kids at these shows is relegated to: "Hey, have you heard the new Unsigned Band That I've Mentioned To Score More Indie Street Cred Points yet?" Taking all this into account I think the stage was set for something different for IDM. Enter Cex.


Very well known for his crazy stage antics, Cex (in real life known as Rjyan Kidwell) has been known to open his act up by screaming out his name to DMX's anthem "What's My Name?" and breaking out into freestyle raps at the drop of a hat. It's a show that the outer-white-boy-geek/inner-funk-soul-brother can love.


As for the music, Cex moved from his own Underscore label to Tigerbeat6 Records after hooking up with Kid606. They decided to form their own label hoping to become the most talked about experimental electronic label around. They've succeeded admirably and on Role Model, Cex's first Tigerbeat full length, he proves that he's not just some punk kid that is walking in Kid606's footsteps.


On the first track, "At Least I Can Say I Tried," Cex opens with the kiddie melodies that we've all come to know and love from IDM artists such as Arovane and Novel23. But then comes the beats. A very talented programmer who succeeds in getting emotional reaction from his melodies... hmmm. Did somebody say Autechre? Luckily, Cex doesn't sound like a clone or anything close to what is going on in IDM right now. Another highlight of the disc include his remix of The Dismemberment Plan's "Academy Award." Now, your inner indie kid is thinking, "What??? How can this punk kid take The Dismemberment Plan and remix them? Isn't that sacrelige or something? Brent D., tell them in obscure metaphors how wrong this is!" Well, turns out Cex is good friends with the D-Plan and was asked to remix the track. Take that. The final highlight of the album comes with the last track, "Rjyan Kidwell's Funeral." The track itself is nearly as uplifting and sad as Mozart's Requiem at times, but the capper is the last minute where a girl comes in and talks about watching "the leafs blow and watching them fall." Sigh. Now that's something all of my IDM friends can relate to. Well, maybe if it was on a screen saver.


Anyway, Cex is pursuing his own aesthetic of conjoining the fun, the melody, the beats, and the DSP. He's the real deal, so you all better join on the bandwagon quickly before he becomes the next Chemical Brothers of America. And you can say, "Cex, pshah, he sucks. I mean, I used to listen to that dude, but like, he's popular now, so he sucks. Yeah."


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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