Resurgam

(anticon)

recommended recommended recommended

Producer and anticon cofounder Alias (Brendon Whitney) lives in his hometown of Portland, Maine, far away from the fixies and graffiti of the label's Oakland headquarters. Presumably, this hermitage suits Whitney just fine—his albums are the kind of internal affairs that suggest a producer who would keep laying down tracks purely for his own pleasure whether or not they ever saw the light of day (one imagines his labelmates having to coax him and his tracks out of hiding). But the distance from his collaborators, as well as the New England cold, also feel like palpable elements on his latest, Resurgam (Latin for "I shall rise again"), which is full of desolate melodies, cold-snapping synths and drums, wide-open headphone spaces, and just enough samples to prove that Whitney still keeps the company of a good record collection.

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The album's most outstanding track is also its longest and its first single, the widely available online "Well Water Black" featuring Yoni Wolf of Why?. The song finds Wolf staring into the same inky void as ever, rapping, "I'd like to think I take dictation/from something big and evasive/that I've yet to see the face of/bracing/but when I'm awake I'm like a little twig breaking." His whispered rhymes and falsetto singing sound like an outtake from Why?'s Alopecia, but Alias's double-time kick pulses, electric guitar, echoing minor-key toy-piano melody, and sputtering, sliced, basement-shaking drum breaks (as well as the vocal processing) place the song firmly within his own oeuvre.

If other tracks don't stand out as much, though, it's because Alias has crafted a truly solid album of downtrodden electronica distinguished by Whitney's live instrumentation—skipping guitars, electric pianos, the aforementioned acoustic drum breaks. It's a fine album for a summer giving in too soon to fall.

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