[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
There is no love lost between social media celebrity and eMMplekz on their third record, an outing which finds Baron Mordant caustically appraising both digital incursion and the dehumanized state of those who habitually use it. Right from the first track on ‘Rook to TN34’ you’re thrown into the deep end with a cynical laundry list of just how much of a crutch these screens have become; the need for that pathetic thumbs up icon has wreaked havoc upon both integrity and conscience. He’s not happy with what he sees; I’ve never encountered him being this direct before. So many pieces on here are unbelievably confrontational, no second chances are being handed out here. eMMplekz appear to have finally had enough of insincerity and don’t have faith in anything they encounter.
The music suits this dour mood handily with abrasive textures colliding against one another as though they’re jostling for the best view of world-wide chaos. You encounter wonderful drones and fuzzy analog tones which serve as an excellent foil to the words running over the top like an acrid, syrupy torrent of bile; “no one commutes/no one communes” they tell us on “Dot to Dot Detritus”. Its an indictment of consumerism no doubt, but within it they get the tone precisely right; saturated with the feeling of apathetic nihilism and a weariness I think anyone who actually still reflects on our world feels each and every time they look out the window or venture out their door… any chance of a re-up? Re-up!?
Net-speak gets turned on its ear eventually collapsing under the weight of it’s own pomp; as you witness this event and hear the agonizing cries of impalement do keep in mind this could be your fate if you don’t watch out. It is exceedingly easy to lose yourself online, to become someone else and achieve the idealized existence you’ve always dreamed of but this record serves as a warning that eventually the power will run out and you’ll have to face the harshest audience out there: yourself. Oh hell, there’s nowhere left to hide, whatever will the twitter addicts do as their thumbs hang idle?
No riddle left to twiddle.
These gentlemen also peel back the mystery surrounding what they’re out to achieve with “Painfully Teal” giving us incredible insight into their creative process. Ekoplekz fashion the circular synthesis, letting Baron Mordant’s voice phase in and out before eventually echoing with ever-increasing volume into a cacophonous series of incisive jabs at the mundane hell so many of us have allowed technology to denigrate our lives with. It’s hilarious to see people scream out for validation in the cold vacuum of cyberspace because there’s no oxygen in it so really, what’s the point? Failure is not an option, however, so the extinguishing efforts to curry attention carry on; a doomed march into the void but if you’ve got the right mobile device you’ll never be alone, right? Right?
But let’s not forget that they’re possessed by a wicked sense of humor with N. Edwards burrowing into our skulls thanks to the music he wrote on “Less Trap More Clap” and “Gloomy Leper Techno” while IBM certainly is not above employing wordplay to sneak in one of his favorite topics which is where he comes from. The title of their latest translates roughly as ‘Crow (Rook) to (two) Hastings (TN34)’; the Baron loves his town, no really he does, you cannot fake this kind of tribute. Or can you. There is no doubt that this is the latest move by the pair on the chessboard of existential expression; they have put popular culture in check but is this the mate?