Kid606: Lost In The Game

“Thanks to everyone who stuck with me while I was lost” writes one-time enfant terrible Miguel De Pedro on the inner sleeve of his latest Kid606 collection. No additional details are included to clarify what “lost” in this case means, though presumably the cryptic connection is to something more lifestyle-related than anything else. And though track titles like “Meeguk so Horny” and “Step Into the Light You Fucking Idiot” don't suggest that the Kid606 sound has mellowed, don't let the provocative song titles fool you: Lost In The Game is a considerably more nuanced outing than such titles might lead one to expect. In general, on this outing the currently Berlin-based producer leaves behind the frenetic breakbeat-based attack documented on past releases for a less chaotic sound that's comparatively well-behaved and appealingly melodic.

By De Pedro's own admission, Lost In The Game (issued on his own Tigerbeat6 label) is also his “first album without any samples whatsoever.” Sophisticated and refined, the thirteen settings often capture the Kid606 sound at its gentlest, such as “Gimme Summer,” wherein lush synthesizer melodies and textures create an appropriately wistful and hopeful mood, and during “Meeguk so Horny,” which likewise soothes the soul with a series of quietly uplifting chord progressions. Cheeky title aside, “Godspeed You African American Emperor” introduces the album on a soothing note with a well-calibrated, hip-hop-styled beat flow and synthesizer textures that are atmospherically evocative as opposed to cranium-crushing. In keeping with the album theme, its forty-six minutes are often melancholic and even somber, though not defeated (a sentiment conveyed by the last track's title “I'm Sick but I Ain't Dead” as well as by its mournful character). Throughout the disc, shoegaze-thick synthesizer textures, chiming melodies, and downtempo head-nodding rhythms combine to form entrancing reveries. Presented with such softly glistening ambient meditations (“Cardamom's Gone Soft”) and serenades (“Big Black Ketamine Jesus,” “I Need to Start a Cult”), Kid606 fans of old might be distressed by the new album's respectable tone. Taken on its own terms, however, Lost In The Game offers no small number of listening rewards.

October 2012