privacydied & jodimattiaccy - atrophy (Album Review)

Analogue recording equipment has long been lauded for producing a warm and natural sound. However, on "atrophy", Londonite vocalist/rapper privacydied and Charlottean producer jodimattiaccy utilise analogue's ability to handle distortion while feeding their anxious and youthful expressions of angst through a blender of effects. The sound often alludes to hip-hop, with its use of samples, production trickery, and impassioned spit-fire lyrics, though it is perhaps closer to the 'experimental' tag; compelling abstractions of form are to be found across the album's 8 tracks.

At 25 minutes, "atrophy" is an economically condensed collection of odd sounds, experiments, and visceral vocal performances that doesn't waste a second. Touching on "grief, loss and addiction" themes, the songs here take a decidedly dark worldview and ruminate on the frustratingly complex moments of the human experience. "41" is a lean serving of kick-heavy minimal hip-hop and perhaps the most accessible track on the album, whereas "Glide" is a highly stylistic and expressionistic piece, the techno back beak of which sounds like it was put through a cement mixer and the vocals like they were recorded using an answering machine from the '70s.  

"S3" uses this formula of mutated music and singular vocals spewing obscure lyrics ("metaverse landlord, I raise the rent on em") with exhilarating results. "privacydied" raps well on this track, his enunciation and accent handled with a musical sensibility that goes beyond his more histrionic voicings.  

Notably, the duo never rely on the low-hanging fruit of experimentalism for effect, with a turn to acid-pop on "metastasised" and a type of industrial-grade noise punk a la Gilla Band on "burnt" and "foxhole", which see hypnotic rhythms, torturous screams, and haunted-house synths blend in a mind-shattering stew. The confessional lyrics of privacydied ("I can't eat, I can't sleep, and my chest aches / Forgive me, I can't forgive myself.") are loud in the mix and exist in a separate sonic sphere from the music. Yes, the music and words inform one another and follow the same tempo, but they often appear as two trains running parallel at the same speed but on different tracks. This choice of imbalance between vocals and music is only one of the important notes in production. The idiosyncratic sound is only informed by itself, with gleeful ignorance of tradition - and all the better for it. The production of jodimattiaccy is ostensibly informed by genres spanning noise and chiptune but is always guided by a desire to texture itself into something at once unrecognisable and beguiling. 

Put this album on for someone not-so-open-minded, and you'll likely get a "what is that?!" Yet the album rewards the listener with its unassuming heart and its fourth-wall-breaking ultra-stylistic approach.