Cleptoclectics: Open Tuned Occidentals

I'll confess it took me a couple of tracks before the dust settled around Cleptoclectics' detail-stuffed Open Tuned Occidentals and for the general stylistic terrain it inhabits to come into clear focus. Often sounding like an audition set for the opening slot on Prefuse 73's next tour, the three-inch CD-R features nineteen over-driven minutes of machine manipulations, beats, samples, and all-around experimental mayhem by Sydney-based Tom Smith. Glitch-hop, boom-bap, instrumental hip-hop—call it what you will (one of the EP's tracks is helpfully titled “Freight Tune Boom Bap”), the seven miniatures on Cleptoclectics' second release (the first, Poignancy Beats Vol. 1, appeared on Feral Media) are heady in the extreme; in fact, the mix of bell percussion, beats, voices, and flutes in “3 is a Universe” is so Prefuse-like, no one would bat an eye if the tune slipped itself surreptitiously into Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian's track listing, and much the same could be said for the wild head-nodder “23 is Your Year” and extravagant squealer “Keys for Open Doors.”

September 2009