Now I'm Rendered Useless

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Twerk's debut LP for Force Inc, Humantics, proved to be one of the trailblazing glitch records of 2000, placing California producer Shawn Hatfield in the same class of celebrated artists as Kid 606 and Kit Clayton. Perhaps it was this acclaim and recognition that led Hatfield to make Now I'm Rendered Useless a further continuation of the same ideas that propelled Humantics. Granted, there are some obvious differences between the albums, the most notable being the move even farther away from the dancefloor towards increasingly complex and layered IDM motifs. But, for the most part, Now I'm Rendered Useless isn't really that different from Humantics. The sounds are still largely glitch-like noises manipulated into incredibly difficult -- if not, at times, also admittedly awkward -- rhythms that are not only dense and meticulously crafted but also considerably unique. Not many other producers are capable of conceiving music this eccentric, particularly since Hatfield manages to offer a variety of tempos from song to song, including some welcome ambient moments. But as stunning as the composition of this music may be, it's not always incredibly listenable, often amounting to a near-mechanical collage of jarring sounds that have little in common with the dancefloor. Of course, to judge this album by its relevance to precedent and its dancefloor qualities would be a mistake; however, it is safe to presume that Now I'm Rendered Useless should be reserved for those with an interest in the glitch aesthetic. Within that class, this record stands as an impressive accomplishment. Still, one wonders how far Hatfield can move further, since with this only being his second major LP, it already sounds like he's repeating himself a certain extent. Rather than broadening his sound, he's narrowed it for Now I'm Rendered Useless and has risked possibly alienating some of his more casual fans in the process.

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