Cex: Exotical Privates

[20 January 2008]

By Evan Sawdey

PopMatters Interviews Editor

Cex Cells

When an artist releases a disc of remixes, it usually serves as just a stopgap between larger releases. Additionally, it allows other artists to come in and alter the DNA of a song, making sad songs funky and rock songs surprisingly moving. Yet what’s unusual about Cex’s Exotical Privates is how—in a rather unusual move—young Rjyan Kidwell actually remixes all of the tracks himself. Even more unusual: though the “remixes” are based off of his 2006 release Actual Fucking, this little stopgap disc might as well be called its own mini-album. This four-track dance affair clocks in at over thirty minutes. What’s most astonishing about it is how given such roomy track lengths, Kidwell doesn’t go off the deep end by indulging his every muse (besides, doesn’t he already do that on his regular full-lengths?). He keeps it all tight and snappy, focusing on solid hooks moreso than any other release in his back catalog.  Opening track “Bolton Hill” shoots his trademark electro-noodling straight into Paul Simon territory (!) while the acoustic-based “Hamilton” runs disintegrating vocal tracks over a washer full of sound effects, all while a stuttering cymbal track somehow survives underneath. It’s a joyous little disc whose only misstep is the nearly 10-minute “Charles Village”, which runs long on time but short on ideas (the Middle Eastern dance-floor concept has been done to death already). Yet even with that in mind, it’s hard to think of any other four-song EP that delivers the entertainment value of a full-length so readily. Top-notch.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/cex-exotical-privates/