Some people are unable to separate an artist’s body of work from the persona of that artist and the deeds they’ve done in their lifetime, while others are able to calmly compartmentalize each and enjoy the music for what it is, regardless of what atrocious acts the artist (or musicians in this case) may have committed.
From this quandary we can shift our eyes and ears over to the album BEEFTEK, by the synth dub-wave anti-pop band Binary Forest, which is the subject of today’s review.
If you don’t know Binary Forest, there’s some logic to that. These guys generally are playing shows in unusual locations for unusual people. They’re a bit like ol’ Nessie in that you see something surface momentarily, you don’t know what it is, and then back down it goes into the dark depths of the loch. Whether it was a million year old dinosaur, or a kid wearing a plastic sea serpent head, you’ll never know. Now onto the most important question…
Beeftek = Love?
Beeftek, by definition, is simply steak. And steak, unless you don’t eat meat for some reason, is generally considered to be the pinnacle of meat. So does this mean that this album is the pinnacle of music? First, let’s see what we have on our plate…
Tracklisting for Beeftek (Running time: 32:06)
- Cold Call
- Future Beef
- Mercedes Benz
- Das Kalbfleisch
- Letter to Hong Kong
- +1 (226) 271-3763
- Saltwater Bae
- Witches Brew
- Official Investigator
- I Buried JC
- Is This Your Plane?
- Push it to the Red Line, Igor
- Planned Exit
From my position here in the listener’s chair, Beeftek makes its intentions clear from the outset. It is experimental house music, and seems fairly unapologetic about it. It is also dance-friendly, it is modern, and it aims for loins with a mix that doesn’t skimp on the bass. It bumps. You want beef – there’s your beef!
As the bass vibrates through your bones and involuntarily activates certain hormones you may not be aware that you have inside you, I realize that Binary Forest has conjured up something here that, while is certainly isn’t a very long album, it takes me into a time zone that will most likely make my clock melt into a puddle on my night stand. This isn’t EST, and it’s not even that weird “mountain time” I keep hearing about. It’s more like…middle of the ocean, island with casino, horny women, and a zeppelin floating in the breeze overhead. Just then, a man appears, and says, “Space isn’t flat, it’s curved.” I knew that, I reply. This album seems to speak to that concept, but I’m not physicist.
Beeftek = Concept?
If steak can be said to be a concept for an album to be about, then Beeftek certainly may be a concept album of sorts. Certainly it is the beefiest concept I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, and most definitely this is the best food-centric concept album I’ve heard today. You know, maybe beeftek refers to booty, which I’d be pleased if it was. Because that means all the coloured girls will come over and twerk it for me, while the white girls fetch me drinks. It’s all good…I’m down with that.
Ermm, anyway…where was I? Each song seems to slide into the next the way that jello shooters go from 1, to 2, to 6 and seem to skip the numbers in between. Stuff gets blurry, I fall down. I get up, I party more, then I drink something and lose consciousness againnnnn… Before I know it, the song is over, and another song has snuck in the back door. The titles seem random, but what do I know? Whether I am fully conscious or not, the party is going on…it’s a nice feeling, like being in a coma.
Essentially, what this album is is a dance party contained within some sort of fuzzy purple box, but it’s rather chilled out in nature. It really is a natural successor to Coffee and Cake, Binary Forest’s debut album from 2013.
There is some evolution that happened in the past few years, musically too, from Coffee and Cake. Bass is a bit sleazier, guitar is a bit squinchier, vocals still don’t really factor in, except for in samples, and Leo DiCap makes an appearance. Synths twinkle endlessly, bouncing up and down.
If you were hoping to be the masochist while this album plays the sadist, it’s not really like that. Nah, Beeftek is not trying to hammer you like some dance music does with increasingly spastic BPM’s and beats of a techno nature. If you were hoping this was Skrillex, well, it’s not.
There is far too much texture and melody flowing here, there, and everywhere for the music to pander to a pop audience. Also, it is my opinion that when music contains a lot of samples, as this album does, mainstream is probably not its destination. The beats aren’t threatening to kill you, they just want to make love to you, so you can prepare for that love to be made, or you can bail. It’s your choice.