Agitated Atmosphere: Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting – Bubblethug

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Pat Maherr.

The legend of Pat Maherr is growing before our eyes. Under the pseudonym, Indignant Senility, Maherr transforms the machinations of ambience into a twisted, dark mess. It’s with this skewered world view that Maherr also dons the Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting tag and destroys the conceits of hip-hop.

The idea of mashing rap with experimental noise is nothing new as a wealth of tastemakers have been laying IVs into flabby avant skin for quite some time. Yet the pretense is superficial, with many apathetic to the idea of doing no more than laying down a few choice beats and calling it intelligent dance music or noise you can dance to (and not be ashamed at the dank suburban basement show you and 12 of your close online friends are attending — we’ve all been there). There is a sign of change, and though many would look to Carlos Giffoni’s new No Fun Acid philosophy as the jousting lance out in front of the charge, perhaps Maherr’s pitch shifting antics are as equally inventive and impressive.

Listen to track 8:

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Rather than just rely on rap as thin film to dress up experimental cabals, Maherr employs myriad snippets and samples to BE the instruments of choice. As archaic as it may seem, the idea behind Bubblethug (released via equally progressive label, Weird Forest) is transforming the rhythm of hip-hop into a completely different rhythm. The sped up and slowed down stanzas of beats, lyrics, and interludes becomes a brand new genre; the offspring of illegitimate rendezvous between various genres. The manipulations maintain the integrity of the samples, lending Bubblethug a recognizable, if cautious, dance vibe. However, Maherr is also destroying that integrity with his busy hands, transforming hip-hop into a new instrument in ambient, drone, and noise. Traditionalists of these genres are going to find themselves exploding in anger as the tropes held dear for generations have been compromised but in truth, at the heart of experimental music and hip-hop is the ideal of adaptation and progression — a trait at the heart of Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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