Enigmatic is one way to describe Toronto glitch-hop artist _____Face, whose debut LP is helpfully called (it’s pronounced underscoreFace). Although the lack of information on the genre-synthesizing artist could have more to do with the fact that he made his performance debut only last month when releasing his first batch of music.
Produced by Dylan Butler (with the exception of “frank horn blower” which is from Butler and Matthew Davis) the debut release features an eclectic blending of electronica and rap, hypnotic hip hop, and fuzzy rock mutations—although the word mutation could be applied to most of the tracks as Butler warps and layers the samples to his own vision.
The full-length EP lives up to its descriptor with an intimidating seventeen songs—although a handful are nothing more than 30 second interludes blending from one to another with hazy, modified vocals and churning beats. Other times the songs transition abruptly, playing up _____Face’s inclination for experimentation.
“meg lets loose” is a perfect example of this, bouncing from the smooth, clean stylings of “lose with her” to the whirring, choppy fourth track. And follower “u\underwater w\welder” lives up to its name with a muffled, crackly open—a transmission barely making it through before cutting out and evolving into something completely different.
The unifying thread of (it’s pronounced underscoreFace) is the mesmerizing feel of each of the songs—it’s easy enough to lose sense of time as the nearly twenty tracks pull you into their undefined world even as the album’s staple disruptions—self-referential “inter(how)rude | machine gun time slip fringe funk” in particular—jolt you out of it with aggressive rapping (and equally salacious lyrics). But _____Face is at its strongest with plunging, distorted vocals like in “booty on me” as Butler carefully measures out the rhythm into an almost trance-inducing pace.
Everything is warped, twisted and made new on _____Face’s debut—from the very flipping of the intro and outro that bookend the album. Nothing seems to be off limits, from lullabies to nightclub grinders, and (it’s pronounced underscoreFace) comes across as a captivating playground for the mind and ears.
Top tracks: “booty on me”; “u\underwater w\welder”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)