|Gil Scott-Heron is a name that gets bandied about hither and yon there these days, but few people seem to grasp what a truly revolutionary force he was, not only in music, but in film, literature, and politics as well. While he's not yet at Gil's fevered pitch, Los Angelean composer/poet Thavius Beck could well become a force capable of summoning the same type of inspired-yet-informed volatility.|
Much like label mate Octavius, Beck's at his best when he's trapping his listeners in a mirrored smoke box filled with whirligig synths, mildly protruding melodies, and hauntingly serene vocals. Much as its name implies, Decomposition is a breaking down (on a sonic level, anyway) of various genre specifications of the last thirty years - there's carnival worshipping free-jazz, graveyard R&B, and mutated electro drones to be found within its rotting antibodies. As with any good funhouse, you're never quite sure what's going to pop out at you, or from where; Subtitle blinds you with an Uzi-like barrage of verbiage on the skittering "June Gloom," while Thavius himself steps out from behind the desk to lend the claustrophobic tirade "Open Your F*@!ing Eyes" a bit of his homebrewed vocal magic. While the beats slither past your feet like wandering serpents, Beck's ear for macabre melody and perfectly plucked samples are enough to excuse any lingering thoughts of derivativeness.
As "(Music Will Be) The Death of Us All" rattles off a laundry list of last century's most famous musical forebears, it's interesting to note Gil Scott Heron's absence, and while it would have been easy to digitally manipulate himself onto the list, Beck has opted instead to let history, not technology, dictate his place in music history. - Grooves