s the old saying goes, opinions on Kid606 are like assholes . . . you get the point. His work irritates some, but even those who dislike him usually are willing to tip their hats to his, shall we say, Resilience. By titling his album as such, Kid606 seems to be playfully mocking his critics who begrudgingly acknowledge his most enduring trait even though they might not enjoy his music. The common knock on Kid606’s albums is that while they possess a wealth of ideas, for each exciting one there is usually an equal dud. How well any of his albums is received depends largely on the success-to-failure ratio of its experiments.
On Resilience, Kid606 has flipped his usual theme of ideas per minute to minutes per idea. There’s nothing like “Ecstasy Motherfucker” here. 606’s change of pace isn’t necessarily an unwelcome one, but it does cause the album to suffer from many of his genre’s most common failings. At times Resilience is slow-moving and repetitive, but it’s not without its successes.
The first two tracks, “Done with the Scene” and “Spanish Song,” start things off well. The former develops gradually—which at this point is yet to become tiresome—with a deep, spacey synth loop that repeats itself throughout the song’s entirety. Drums shuffle by softly while guitar-like notes pierce the atmosphere. Next, “Spanish Song” is a slow motion club song, with handclaps, effective background gibberish, and get-back-on-the-floor sirens. The track makes a brief foray into soothing ambience, but comes full circle before long.
The fourth song, “Xmas Funk,” is Resilience’s best, where 606 displays some expertise at pacing. For starters, “Xmas Funk” doesn’t rely solely on one beat/loop. Its tempo and structures change several times, never dramatically, but just enough. What else is added does a fine job of transforming the main beat’s sound, as opposed to other tracks where the outside elements feel as though they’re merely laid on top. The song reaches its apex (sort of) at three minutes in, when everything spirals upward simultaneously; still, even though “Xmas Funk” took me higher, it didn’t quite reach the elevation I’d hoped it would.
Other high marks include “I Miss You,” which uses a Múm-like keyboard loop as its centerpiece, “Cascadia” which sounds like an electronic portrayal of a harmony of lawnmowers and power tools, and “Hold It Together,” a Far Eastern sounding track that manages to clock in around two-and-a-half minutes.
What remains of Resilience will test one’s ability to refrain from hitting the skip button. Some of these songs simply go on for far too long, seemingly underdeveloped and edging dangerously toward being labeled as filler and nothing more. “Sugarcoated” almost completely reveals itself in the first two minutes—except that it continues uninterrupted for another five, while “King of Harm” is so unremarkable that I thought it was a repeat from early on.
In the end, I feel the same about Resilience as I do about so many albums where an artist mixes things up simply for the sake of doing so. Not everything’s a runaway success, but I respect that Kid606 tried something new. Maybe there aren’t a million little ideas for the listener to digest on Resilience, but the grand, new one that is presented leaves a stronger impact for it.
Reviewed by: Ross McGowan
Reviewed on: 2005-08-09