qpe: Gentrifried
The Agriculture

Though Kacy Wiggins doesn't seem intent on inciting revolutions with his qpe ('quiet personal electronics') project, he just might surreptitiously do so, given Gentrifried's insidious potency. Certainly his subtly funky 'roof music' (named after roof parties held in Williamsburg, New York) is a breath of fresh air amidst the hyperkinetic complexity and grandiose production excess of other genres. In this long-anticipated follow-up to Boolean Logic, Wiggins' 'Hip Hop Nouveau' drops 45 minutes of blunted and blissed-out trip-hop that's perfectly designed to cure whatever ails you. Even better, most tracks top out at four minutes or less, meaning they state their case with concision and then move aside.

Though the album has a cumulative impact, individual tracks make strong impressions. The tight crack of a slippery snare in the sweetly floating “McGarrett” sounds particularly beautiful while lulling tabla rhythms and cascading stutters work their voodoo magic in “The Devil You Know Is Better Than the Devil You Don't.” Memorable also: the dubbed-out lurch “Kitty,” which snakes and slithers hypnotically, the funky beat splatter and laconic piano chords of “Stare,” and warm bass lines and aquatic keyboard burble of “Ant Farms and Armadillos.” By album's end, it's clear that qpe worships at the temple of dreamy, soulful grooves where the focus is less on melody per se and more on the snap, slap, and crackle of mellow downtempo beats. 'Roof Music' never sounded so good.

February 2006