The Whether Machine is a new project from Kansas City producer
JKR70 and Clay Hughes, from Clay Hughes And The What?.
The two decided to collaborate after meeting in 2009, and worked with
several emcees from the Midwest, including Mac Lethal, Johnny
Polygon, and Lucid, as well as instrumentalists Thom
Hoglen, Lennon Bone, and Matt Long. "I love
working with new people. It brings a new element to the music,"
JKR70 uses elements of several different genres of music to create
an extremely relaxed style. He combines hip-hop drums with pop-inspired
keyboard and synthesizer lines, while tastefully accenting the mix
with vinyl scratches and other electronic effects. At the same time,
Hughes' smooth and breathy vocals give the songs an unmistakable Citizen
Cope quality. The result is a whimsical musical experience; one
that can make the listener's troubles melt away.
The first track, "Plaster," introduces the main concept
of the album - blending natural and electronic instruments together
to create organic grooves. Drums and vocals drive the song's rhythm,
while the echoed guitar riff and synthesizer lines back it with
a dream-like tone. "Gotta Soul" has a similar sound, with
its light synthesizers behind hard-hitting drums and aggressive
rap verses. More somber tracks, like "The Love I Gave Ya,"
"Confessin'," and "The Replacement," draw on
the same method, only using the natural sounds of pianos, harps
and electric basses for their hooks.
The Whether Machine is an interesting project with catchy
lyrics and sounds, but it lacks musical variety. Almost all of the
songs have the same, gloomy aura, and the only real variety between
the songs comes from similar progressions played on slightly different
sounding instruments. There's a cool, relaxed feeling to the music,
but after 3 or 4 songs, the listener is ready for a change.
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