Twitch The Ripper (TTR), comprised of Jon Dobyns and
Lonn Bologna, released their debut album Bodiless on
February 1st. Bodiless was mixed by Grammy-winner Phil Magnotti
and mastered by Emily Lazar (Vampire Weekend, Depeche
Mode). The album is an industrial tribute to hard-hitting electronic
acts like NIN. Fans of Blaqk Audio, an obscure electronic
side project of two AFI members, might find TTR comparable.
Both acts use sequenced drum beats and synthesizer melodies as a foundation
for their moody meddling. Bodiless is undeniably well furbished,
but being catered by award winning audio technicians does not warrant
artist merit. The majority of Bodiless is vapid and apocryphal;
a collection of generic electronica that fails to digress from preset
sounds and unmemorable arrangements. This lends to difficult listening,
for the audience is unable to distinguish one song from the next.
Frequent references to "death" and "breath" (something
Jon Dobyns' vocals need) cast umbrage over the album's nine tracks.
"Bodiless," the title track, is the first single taken off
the album. A billowing string pad creeps behind Dobyn's dry and airy
voice as he recites cadaverous lyrics. "Bright Is Impossible"
contains cliché trance synths that flutter down from above
while "Nurse Price" describes a foray into a fever. "Never
Got You Anywhere" begs to be the next Twilight movie theme
as a growling bass line preludes nocturnal lyrics: "this whole
place stood with forgotten gloom / you sucked me in toes curling,
reaching for the moon."
Credit is placed where deserved; the production of Bodiless
is acknowledgeable, but can not account for, or disguise, the conventional
song-writing. This becomes apparent in the misuse of several studios
"tricks". Several songs contain a looped introduction ("Bright
Is Impossible," "Blue Body," "Eternity"),
a production technique that gyrates a listener's expectations of future
temporal events and evokes an element of surprise. However three accounts
of this technique leave such impressions rather dull. Thus TTR should
not wage the impact of their music on the events in the studio, but
rather on the craft of their writing.
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