I can't compare Cex's new album to past releases. I'm sorry. I haven't heard
any of the others. But I've read that the guy behind Cex Rjyan
an extremely crafty guy. I've heard he breaks the mold again and again.
I've heard he's made all different kinds of sounds. I've heard he's insanely
prolific. I've heard each record is a new approach, separate from the
last. I've heard lots of people follow him. I've heard lots of people
like him. And after hearing his latest, Actual Fucking, a number
of times, I believe all these murmurs reached me for good reason.
Oh, another thing I heard: His vocals on Actual Fucking are louder, more upfront and more actual singing than ever before.
From my back-less perspective, I would say if Actual Fucking were just
another experiment in how to approach music-making, it would be Kidwell's venture
into '90s industrial-informed music. Still electronic, still danceable, still
still all over the place ('cause that's what I've heard has been most constant
to his songwriting), but now heavier, harder-hitting, vocals that scorch and
snarl like only those '90s industrial artists could.
But set against snapping beats, keen electronics and intense emotion, Kidwell's collages aren't quite so cold. "Chicago" is one of my favorites; might just be the lyrics (I'm a sucker for clever word strings). Atop thunderous, crashing beats and eerily building, taunting electronics, he sneers: "Sometimes it seems to me that I/ I must've been born hanging out/ And that I must've been conceived hanging out/ And I probably incubated hanging out/ And I know I'm going to die by hanging/ And I know I'm going to die by hanging." He goes onto list all the places he hangs out, as if to poke fun at people who get around, or claim to anyway.
"Los Angeles" (no, not all songs are named after cities, just two) also stands out for its infectious, textured beat, reggae rhythms and speedy, robotic line delivery: "Nothing must be certain, nothing must be clear/ Nothing must be perfect/ nothing must be clear." I'm not clear on everything Cex, but I've heard enough to know you want to hear this.