Nathan Michel

Trebly

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A collection of live recordings from 2002-2003, Trebly was released before Nathan Michel's second album for Tigerbeat6, on the microlabel Mr. Mutt. This is the kind of album that deserves a limited edition on CD-R: interesting, but definitely not on par with the quality of the artist's regular output. The six tracks are culled from shows in New York City, Philadelphia, and Princeton, and mixed down into a tight, relentless 42 minutes. Kevin Blechdom and Kid 606 are among the artists name-checked in the thanks section, and they serve as good reference points. Trebly is mostly focused on the fun side of Michel's work -- the fast-paced juxtapositions, the quirky dissonances, the smile-inducing samples. The detailed sound constructions and measured compositional skill inherited from the academic world are mostly absent (except in the last piece). As a result, on this album he sounds more than ever like a Kid 606 wannabe. Trebly has its good features, especially in the most exaggerated moments, ironically, where Michel pushes his art to a cartoonish level. This album was the short-lived Mr. Mutt's weakest release. Fans of Michel may be interested in locating a copy, but newcomers should definitely get his more widely distributed releases first.

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