Remy LBO

Peeling in the Drum/Comical Cheating

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L.A.-via-Brooklyn hip-hop head/analog synth fetishist/electronica auteur Remy LBO brings minimalism, funk, jazz, and DJ culture together on what's almost a completely solo effort. Inspired by the underground hip-hop sounds of artists like Madlib and the late J Dilla, LBO seems bent on bending them into quirky new shapes with only the tools immediately at hand. It's difficult to tell why this album bears two titles, as the whole thing seems to maintain a pretty consistent feel from start to finish; there's a stark, minimal landscape laid out on most of the tracks, with a simple hip-hop beat marking the time while a fat, miniMoog-sounding synth bassline bubbles up like a funky snake slithering out of a drainpipe. Over the top, LBO tends to alternate between woozy, warped Wu-Tang-style synthesizer lines, clipped, electro-influenced riffs, and jazzy piano excursions. LBO also released a companion piece to this album, containing dub versions of some of the tracks, and it feels like he was in a dubby frame of mind to begin with when creating the original cuts; at times, the sonic palette seems like it could use a little more variety, but at others, the willful simplicity strikes just the right, understated chord. Peeling in the Drum/Comical Cheating is a short record, clocking at a near-EP length of just over 30 minutes, but that turns out to be just the right length for an excursion of this kind. A longer swim in the same waters might begin to make one feel soggy, but as it stands, the low-key, late-night sounds LBO lays down are an effective mood-setter.

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