Seth Kauffman


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If Ting is an unusual title, it's fitting for an unusual, unpredictable album. "I'm a Martyr," for instance, references old R&B/soul as re-conceived by a bunch of guys hanging out in a basement with a two-track recorder. The opener, "Get Your Love Stole," features squeaky high harmony that shadows the lead vocal while a fuzzy electric guitar plays lazy riffs against a backdrop of a rather primitive drum track. "Black Biscuit" kicks off with a bouncy, repetitive guitar lead and more primitive percussion before two or three people start singing, "Hey, hey, black biscuit got me on the run" (which is the entire lyric). "Meadowlark" includes a fiddle, swaying guitar, and a military backbeat, while "Jug Hustler Blues" indulges in heavy, noisy blues. Yes, it's intriguingly bizarre, and should be easy enough to endorse, though the lo-fi production wears thin after two or three tracks. One gains the impression that one is listening to an AM radio station in mono, and the result is dissonance. This holds true even on a more melodic cut like "It's Cold Out Here." Everything is mixed to the center as though not mixed at all; the overall noise level is high, and certain instruments sound as though the recording levels were (purposely) set at high levels (resulting in buzz). This approach creates a certain style that aptly matches the experimental nature of Seth Kauffman's compositions, but one that will leave some listeners feeling more assaulted than edified.

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