We Remain Faded
n the past few years, the stutter has become an accepted part of electronic musicians’ vocabularies. While it is unclear exactly why this is, the sound of a beat hitting and then shattering like glass, bits and pieces skittering in all directions, has become a commonplace trope in the electronic music landscape. Dustin Craig, the man behind Headphone Science’s sound, has chosen to adopt this sound for We Remain Faded and provides a clear summation of the nascent genre that Prefuse built that neither serves to innovate nor surprise, but succeeds admirably nonetheless.
Here we’ve got six tracks totaling thirty-eight minutes, two longer pieces followed by four shorter ones; a perfectly respectable length that leaves you wanting more. Three of the tracks (‘Games’, ‘Larcenous’ and ‘Life Struggles Constant’) offer cut-up hip hop vocal samples, but the effect is just as much ø-Ziq circa ‘Burst Your Arm’ and ‘The Motorbike Track’ as it is the ubiquitous Mr. Herren. ‘Games’, in particular, builds up one hell of a groove over its ten minutes; you might not be able to make out what the samples are saying most of the time, but the connotations come through clearly.
The opening title track is the best of the other songs, combining the aforementioned stutter with delicate beeps and slow progression to great effect. ‘To Dine In Distance’ is also remarkable, though, starting out with what sounds like an emotionally fraught phone call (“did you, did you mean all that stuff about moving in with me?” “I was just thinking out loud”) before bringing in clipped beats and a constricted, cut-up horn sample. ‘Larcenous’ (with at least one recognizable sample, “I will destroy everything for the right price”) is harder edged than most of the other tracks here, layering a fine, fuzzy beep pattern with interlocking drums and what sounds like Esperanto gangsta rap.
But what raises these tracks the crucial, small amount above similar efforts is indefinable. Craig is clearly good as what he does; the sound is pristine and the six tracks here have been honed to a switchblade sharp. There are plenty of meldings of hip hop and other electronic forms out there, but Craig’s keen ear and sure hand with a beat mean that We Remain Faded ranks among the very top efforts in the genre.
Reviewed by: Ian Mathers
Reviewed on: 2004-02-23