he only way to enjoy many of the artists on Load Records is to divorce yourself from any notion of traditional Western music values. Sonority, short songs that have obvious verse chorus structures, and any sort of claim on sanity all seem to be foreign to the artists on this label, based out of Rhode Island. This is no different on Pleasurehorse’s Bareskinrug release, except for the fact that the Pleasurehorse, Shawn Greenlee, uses different means than many of the artists on the Load roster. In fact, Greenlee has much more in common, tools wise, with a label like Tigerbeat6 than Load. It is this effort to branch out into different musical directions by both labels, however, that allows for this record to fit easily into either label’s catalogue with its brand of cut up bouncy beats that constantly threaten to break into a hip hop rhythm.
Sounding very much like a busier and more complex Tender Love, Pleasurehorse eschews the dance floor ready rhythms of SND and abstracts them into glittering and stabbing remnants of glossed over bling-bling hip hop. The beats are no less powerful and insistent, but Pleasurehorse is here to confound rather than to educate or entertain.
It is this teasing of the audience’s expectations and the threat of a relatively straightforward beat that drives Bareskinrug. The sounds melt from each end of the stereo spectrum fading into one another and returning only a few seconds later so that they can melt and fade away again. Pleasurehorse would seemingly be right at home next to artists such as DJ Scud, Kid606’s more abrasive work, and a large portion of the Digital Hardcore roster. By deconstructing the hip hop ethos and its music, Pleasurehorse walks into a dialogue that has been going on for some time. It is the recycling of the recycled that has become such old hat for artists and Greenlee is no exception here. However, Greenlee doesn’t actively react to any sort of movement or style. Instead he seems to be operating independent from just everybody and everything here. It would truly be an understatement to say that this record has few or no peers in its musicality, but unfortunately this neither makes it good nor eminently listenable.
Instead the record is almost like a chore to listen to, dealing in the same electronic static and cut up methods on each track. These techniques are interesting the first time around but lose their luster deeper into the album. It is, however, a fine debut LP for the Load label and should be evidence that more interesting things are to come from this interesting and original producer.