|"What's wrong with you buddy, are you sick or something?" Indeed there does seem to be something up with Thavius Beck. Decomposition is a concept album about the artist's death. His vocals on the second track, "Open Your F*@!ing Eyes" carry a grainy, eroded texture, suggesting a voice salvaged from long lost data files. Other voices are heard checking off the various mystical, scientifical texts he was reading before his death. Thereafter, human presence is absent for large chunks of the album, as if Beck has suddenly collapsed in the studio leaving his machines to play by themselves.|
Without an emcee to provide hip-hop's usual social dimension, and with rhythms too diffuse to fulfill the boombox function of marking urban territory, Decomposition retreats into a dread-filled and compelling headphone fantasy. Snatches of TV and film dialogue are strewn across the album in a manner akin to demented channel surfing. Beck imposes order on a fragmented mix through the synthetic purity of electro - a tightly coiled synth bassline thuds beneath the surface of "(Music Will Be) The Death of Us All," while "Amongst the Shadows" floats upon glacial melodic movements akin to Model 500. Beck's curious, creative synthesis of hip-hop, industrial beats and Vangelis/Jarre style futurism reaches a glacial peak on the elegiac "On the Axis of Misunderstanding."
Guest vocalists like Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler-Zavala make ghostly intrusions but the imaginative sketches on Decomposition generally evoke a depopulated landscape. Though without the formidable beat architecture of avant hip-hoppers such as the Bug or Dj Spooky, Beck's music is a darkly tinged accumulation of memories and impressions, with a constant low and electro pressure the only reference to the lost body. -�The Wire