|MH-268 Deru - Say Goodbye To Useless
Say Goodbye To Useless is Deru’s third full-length release, and his first for Mush Records. While you will find similar aesthetics to his previous releases – moody, atmospheric sounds, haunting melodies and organic textures – they are augmented by his most mature song-writing and cutting-edge beats to date. The album pays homage to classic genres and structures while cultivating a 22nd century smart-party ethic that will snatch the ear of the snobbiest beat head. Deru’s listeners will continue to appreciate his drive for challenging them as much as he challenges himself.
|This is definitely for fans of older Lusine but with a bit more noise, damage and darkness. - ISO50 / Say Goodbye To Useless is a pretty smart record all round. - The Milk Factory / Benjamin Winn’s third album, his debut for San Fran’s weird hoppers Mush, makes for spooky listen.- Clash / A fabulous effort and the first great album of 2010. - The Intricate Mess|
|I'm disappointed in myself. Literally, I'm writing this review, and I keep sighing. I need to get my act together. I need to be more legit. I need to be more like Deru.|
I'm pissed off because I can't figure out the sample he uses in "Fadeaway." He grabs a long section of arpeggiated woodwind counterpoint, like a Philip Glass jazz funeral, frames it with a lopsided oldschool hip-hop beat, and then lets the drum drop out for over a minute of adagio chords. I’ve heard the sample before, but not like this.
I need to identify the source because I want to make the point that talking about "influences" on a record like this is pointless. The opener, "I Would Like" takes an entire song from the (self-explanatory) Singing Nun, pitches it down to androgynize it and bring out the vocal's muted-trumpet timbre, and slowly turns up the knob on some beckoning static. Toward the end of the record, the drums on "Cottonmouth Lothatio" sound like a head-nod to the breakdowns in old goth-metal.
And so it feels insincere, like a sommelier telling you all about the "sawdust notes" or "mountain-air mouthfeel" in your wine, to try to pull familiar emotions from these songs. Sure, this music sounds like it was made in a world where dubstep exists, but that doesn't say anything about what you'll hear on the record. Sure, the pitch-indecisive leads on "Hello" probably mean that Deru's heard Boards of Canada, but they never taught him to write that song's industrial break.
Instead of manipulating sounds that have gradually developed meanings in your mind, Deru takes familiar cues and removes them from their normal associations. He takes sounds that would never be seen together and forces them to sit down for coffee.
As a result, you lose track of the genres that gave birth to each cue, and if you ever hear those sounds together again, they will remind you of Deru. There will be people for whom "Basically, Fuck You" is a defining anthem, and I have no idea what their clothes and haircuts will look like.
I don't know if everyone will be so enthusiastic. Most of my favorite sounds on the record disappear when I unplug my headphones and listen through Macbook speakers. Open-minded young punks might not have Sennheisers. I'm not satisfied with the sequencing either, since the record seems split into two EPs separated by "Walk," an aurally stressful crawl that might be a Burial homage. But the number of instantly good songs, particularly in the first half, trumps any complaints about cohesion. Imagine somebody ranting about how Thriller doesn’t cohere.
It's a little unexpected that "Peanut Butter & Patience" should be the first single, despite its brilliant, sonar-pulse lead, because of the strength of the tracks surrounding it. As long as he puts the others out sooner or later, though, this can be forgiven. And he probably has a grand scheme for the order in which you hear the big songs, so I hesitate to call him out on this kind of thing anyway.
There's something admirable about this kind of planning, this attention to detail that far exceeds and exploits the attention-spans of your listeners, and one of the greatest compliments I can give the record is that it has terrible side-effects. When Deru took that woodwind sample out of my memory by putting it into conversation with trip-hop, he made me depressed. If I were as conscious of framing and narrative as him, I wouldn't be in this mess. Thanks for making such a great record, asshole. - FWD