Yoko Solo: The Beeps
Quake Trap

Though sonically they're only tangentially similar, Yoko Solo's The Beeps reminds me of nothing as much as Matmos's first two albums (as opposed to the duo's subsequent ones which constellate around overriding album concepts). Schooled in hip-hop, house, funk, and techno, Solo (Brandon LaSan) possesses a similar explorative and open-ended sensibility where all sounds and genres are deemed equally worthy of sampledelic plunder: guitar raunch, throbbing bass lines, hammering breaks, Rhodes sprinkles, synth blips, hip-hop beats, voice samples, and so forth.

Don't get the wrong idea—Yoko Solo and Matmos aren't equal in invention. There's nothing on The Beeps (LaSan's Quake Trap follow-up to the full-length The Forbidden Channel and EP Weese) to match Matmos's infamous “Verber: Amplified Synapse” (its bass sound sampled from the, ahem, “amplified synapse of crayfish neural tissue”), for example, but Solo's tracks do muster a constant invention that holds one's interest throughout. The dystopic overture “Kluge (?!)”' leaves a misleadingly well-behaved first impression that's quickly righted by the raw guitar riffing and mastodon crunch of “Pigbucket Blam Blam” while “Covered in Feces...Stronger Than You, Rotten” is less filthy than it sounds, though its serpentine bass synths and beat splatter do get up a grinding groove. The Beeps ultimately lurches to a dark and dramatic close with “Cosmonaut Tragedy,” as spaced-out and chilled as one might expect.

November 2005