Open Tuned Occidentals
7 Track, LP (2009, hellosQuare Recordings)
Part hip-hop beatmulching, part experimental electronica and part found-sound collage, Open Tuned Occidentals is the second release from Sydney-based artist Tom Smith (aka Cleptoclectics). This 3” CD-R is a more than worthy follow-up to his contribution to Feral Media’s Powwow series.
Seemingly coming from a similar sonic angle to Anticon alumni Odd Nosdam and Jel, Smith’s busted-up beats and cut/paste aesthetic have a distinctly old-school flavour while still retaining an edge of fierce experimentalism. As he recontextualises a wide array of source material – horns, koto, junk-shop percussion – a new musical landscape emerges, one simultaneously alien and familiar.
Each of the seven pieces here are distinctly rhythmic and infectiously melodic, interweaving fragments of jazz and pure pop within a 21st century boom-bap framework. Despite its avant-garde tendencies, Open Tuned Occidentals remains accessible throughout: the tumbledown drums and sampled woodwinds of ‘Move On’, the oriental vibe of ‘23 is Your Year’, the gently processed percussion of ‘Keys for Open Doors’.
These are the kind of jams that Macromantics or Catcall should be spouting rhymes over: catchy, but constantly on the go; forward-thinking, but respectful of its roots.
by Adam D Mills