It makes sense that the Bran Flakes' I Have Hands shares roster space with Girl Talk on Illegal Art. Both artists turn ADHD, omnivorous pop-culture awareness, and overworked samplers into sonic gold (and, in the Bran Flakes' case, aural laughing gas).
The prevailing mood on this 30-track disc by the Bran Flakes (Seattle multi- instrumentalists Mildred Pitt and Otis Fodder) is a kind of demented EZ- listening/cracked-game-show franticness. It's novelty music, but extremely well-planned and -executed novelty music. Mocking (or is it homaging?) children's instructional records also appears on Pitt and Fodder's playful agenda. The beats are often danceable, but shaking asses seems less important to the Bran Flakes than provoking mirth. Pitt concurs: "I'd say the overarching concept (for this and past albums) is to increase the amount of joy in the world. Kinda cheesy, but true."
Toward that end, "Dance of the Sugar- snap Fairy" recalls Tipsy's skewed exotica funk; "Stumble Out of Bed" whips Dolly Parton's darling vocals from her 1980 hit "9 to 5" into an even more winning country-dance swagger; "Marchy March" is unbelievably peppy Sesame Street funk; "Mini Mountain Queen" evokes Jean-Jacques Perrey and Raymond Scott's whimsical Moogie-woogie (in fact, the Flakes plunder the latter's archives for some sounds here); "Van Pop" hijacks David Lee Roth's heavily circulated a cappellas from "Runnin' with the Devil" and inappropriately places them in a woozy, orchestral-triphop context; the mad, mod "If I Loved You" should be in the next Austin Powers flick.
With all its wacky frivolity, I Have Hands may provide the quickest sonic-comic relief you'll hear all year, outside of American Idol.
Like hundreds of cats regularly do in Seattle, Ya No Mas recently handed me a hastily packaged CD-R of his own music. Unlike hundreds—or at least dozens—Ya No Mas's CD-R Straight Up Hussl Hussl (on his own Cloud City Sound) is wicked.
Ya No Mas (formerly Beetseeka, aka Aurelio Garcia) had just given the Bonkers! crowd at Re-bar a reason to be so not over electro, a genre that's hard to execute without seeming kitschily retro, as nothing ages faster than yesteryear's hottest! freshest! thing. Like much of that genre, Hussl Hussl is fun, sure, but it also cavalierly fucks around with frequencies in a way that recalls iconoclastic Schematic artists like Push Button Objects and Phoenecia.
Throughout the disc's 26-minute duration, a streetwise voice repeats, "Raw shit!" and, although the iterations become excessive, YNM does earn that compliment. Especially around the 18-minute mark, when the low end becomes seriously ill and cranium-shaking, leading into a passage of deep, sparse Detroit-ian techno with gamelan undertones. Weird and funky, the way we like it.
More info: www.myspace.com/beetseeka