I think we’ll find this to be Tobacco’s defining record. Maniac Meat, the latest full-length from Black Moth Super Rainbow vocoder addict Tom Fec a.k.a. Tobacco is very much, and finally so, his record. 2008’s Fucked Up Friends was, to be fair/hyperbolic, something like a slightly noisier Dandelion Gum with hip hop beats. We saw BMSR’s reaction to that, a cleaner, poppier record in 2009. And Tobacco took his solo work and went the exact opposite direction. What we get is a bold, powerful, batshit insane record.

We’re greeted with that warm familiarity of beehive bass and vocoder lyrics about berries, maybe enough to be lulled into anticipation of the expected.  And then a refreshing pound of thunder-clap cymbals and huge synth leads bursts like a gunshot into the mix. Beck’s guest appearances are skillfully and artfully done; his glitchy, scampering, nonsensical vocals on “Fresh Hex” make the track. Hell, they make the track, barely two minutes in length, one of the catchiest I’ve heard in a while. The almost mockingly seventies/eighties electronica aesthetics work even better (see “Creepy Phone Calls,” “Six Royal Vipers,” “Stretch Your Face). The loose racetrack sweeps of “Lick the Witch,” the fuzzed-out, wobbling synth of “Motorlicker” represent a shade of something fresh. “Sweatmother” with its overdriven tones and snarlingly vocoded bray sounds to me like the soundtrack to the funkiest rape scene ever. I’m not saying Tobacco’s reinvented the wheel here, merely he’s gotten a lot close to perfecting his sound. And in the process, he’s made one of the most satisfying and compelling electronic records of the year.

-Brian S

Tobacco – Sweatmother by Hypetrak

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