[sic] Magazine


bEEdEEgEE is the stylised “shorthand” of one Brian DeGraw , a central cog in the Gang Gang Dance collective who have held a special place in [sic]’s heart ever since their banging 2011 LP Eye Contact . Mutant future-pop has however moved on since then. That’s the thing with the cutting edge; in order to remain there you have to keep reinventing yourself because inevitably the horizon keeps shifting.

DeGraw’s invention is never in doubt. He’s a musical sponge, drawing on a wide array of Western trends to keep ahead of the curve on SUM/ONE – his debut as a solo artist. His hits here however are balanced out with misses. For every “Bricks” therefore, which stutters like the blackest of doom-techno and Bass records, rattling also with blunt beats ripped from footwork, you get a “Flowers”, a vaguely Balearic exercise in boredom that even a guest vocal from CSS ‘s Lovefoxxx can’t save.

Arguably worse though for a man of DeGraw’s chameleonic calibre are those tracks that fall in the middle. The overlong, instrumental opener feels exactly like the introduction to DeGraw’s artsy world that it is. Its successor, “Like Rain Man”, doesn’t step up either. It just adds a smear of synth and a cameo from Gang Gang Dance frontwoman Lizzi Bougatsos to the same playful palette, sounding as such like the more forgettable parts of Eye Contact as it goes.

Again, not really pushing the envelope, “Empty Vases” is a relatively straightforward and ambient-house jam notable as much as anything for featuring fellow Gang Gang Dancer Douglas Amour on vocal. Keeping things club-land, “(Fuck Up The Day) Time Of Waste” is more lively. Seemingly ready remixed with sirens and muscular pulses leading the charge, its kinda-robotic funk is tempered by Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip ‘s hypnotic hook-up. It partially recalls that likeable Daphni record from last year too but “last year” is almost certainly not what DeGraw was aiming for. Whether his finger has failed to land on all the right pulses this time around or whether he’s just had too much Thanksgiving turkey remains to be seen, but SUM/ONE is far from the near-future template it was probably supposed to be.

Best tracks: “Bricks” and “(Fuck Up The Day) Time Of Waste”.

~SUM/ONE is released December 2nd 2013 on 4AD .~