Posts Tagged ‘Drag’

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CLT Recommends: N A T T Y M A R I

May 17, 2011

I rarely dedicate an entire post to single artist but when I do, I mean it, maaaan. I’ve spent some time and several hundred words expounding on the virtues of Rraaiillss’ new wave of classic altrock. I’ve spent a few hundred more pushing Whitey’s incredible blend of electro-rock and caustic lyrics. And now I’m here to push another worthy artist straight down your earholes.

N A T T Y M A R I

Nattymari is an unusual beast. With a name copped from ultra-weird import hit “Katamari Damacy” and combined with a reggae descriptor, Nattymari both covers up his blacker-than-black productions and tips a cap towards his dub progenitors. His pitch-shifted blend of corrupted noise is built on the back of the following monstrosities (from the man himself):

“The clippy sounds of lo-bitrate mp3s,the buzz of blown speakers, cassette hiss and warble, the sound of a tape with a bend, where you hear the other side backwards for a few moments…”

There’s no term in existence for what Nattymari does. It’s not dubstep. It’s not industrial. And while he frequently rubs shoulders compilation-wise with plenty of witch house/drag artists, he’s not really that either.

For starters, he revels in the “artifacts of the medium.” You can hear the tape loop fuckery of Chrome and Throbbing Gristle ricocheting around the soundscape, slipping off the spindle now and then with a burst of Chipmunk speed or getting hung up in the gears and grinding to a halt.

Then there’s the pitched-down James Earl Jones-on-Quaaludes vocals as pioneered by the late, great DJ Screw, whose prolific productions warped the minds of a whole generation of southern hip hop fans, reclaiming dime-a-dozen braggadocio and turning it into a hellish incantation led by the most cocksure demons to walk the planet.

There’s more in there as well. Bursts of static destroy what came before them and alter everything that follows. Tinny, overdriven drum patterns drill fractal landscapes into the murky tar pit bubbling malevolently below it. Vocals elongate and compress randomly, often submerging entirely before clamoring to the surface, gasping for air desperately.

Nattymari – Pri$3 749.mp3

By this point, you’ve probably decided how this sits with you. By any stretch of the imagination, it’s not really what the uninitiated would call “music.” It certainly doesn’t present any sort of easily approachable front. It edges very close to antagonistic several times. But that’s where the genius lies.

This is music destroyed and rebuilt without a manual. This is the sum of the parts laid end to end and reformatted one by one. This is what creativity sounds like: the complete removal of waypoints in order to forge a new path.

There’s beauty in it as well. It’s often obscured and rarely left untroubled for more than few moments, but it’s there nonetheless. Take a listen to IIEVOL.

Nattymari – IIEVOL.mp3

The vocals are as troubled as they are troubling, like a villain left to die, his humanity reduced to a streak of tears and a pool of blood. Haunting snippets of Venice canal accordion emerge, along with a brief bit of nearly unaltered vocals, all of it awash in palpable sadness. And just as the pain subsides, the track morphs into a miniature tonepoem built on downed power lines and decayed radio signals.

The beauty is nothing without the juxtaposed destruction.

And there are moments where Nattymari, despite having every damaging tool at his disposal, surprises with something approaching hummable, like N477Y L1GH7.

Nattymari – N477Y L1GH7.mp3

There’s a stark simplicity in the buildup, an approachable beat that runs for nearly 40 seconds with a minimum of interference. (Although there’s just enough noisemaking to let you know that this is unmistakably Nattymari.) Once the whole thing kicks in, the screwed-down vocals glide effortlessly over the loops, occasionally slipping forward and backward as dictated by the fiend at the controls.

Sometimes nothing succeeds like restraint. In a perfect world, this could at least climb into the lower half of the Top 40, too “weird” to top the charts but catchy enough to pluck it from obscurity.

Look, I can’t sell you on Nattymari’s music. You’ll love it or you’ll hate it, but there’s no way you’re walking away completely unaffected. The greatest artists out there are the most divisive. I won’t drown him in oppressive comparisons and start tossing around names of the all-time great sonic abusers. It serves no purpose. Nattymari can get by on his own merits and name-dropping only draws attention away from his singular sound.

If you’d like get smacked around by some lurching, ramshackle death machines, follow these links:

http://www.youtube.com/user/nattymari?feature=mhee

http://soundcloud.com/nattymari

http://soundcloud.com/nattymari-1

http://soundcloud.com/nattymari2

http://nattymari-unfortunate-events.blogspot.com/

-CLT