LA maverick unleashes pop tinged EP upon an unsuspecting world
The quote “Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions” from the late and great Roddy Piper perfectly sums up Miguel Bapista Benedict. This year he has release four albums of fractured piano, dissected beats and abstract beauty. mbb_ex was a 48 track beast that skewed between lurid glitchy soundscapes and re-imagined what ambient could be in 2015. Now he has returned with new EP Ratchet[ed] F[ ]awn. Despite only lasting 16 minutes, it packs a serious punch to the senses.
Opening track meat (meet) has a John Carpenter vibe to it. At times it sounds like an outtake from the classic electro score Assault on Precinct 13. Crisp beats intercut a humming bassline while an undercurrent of surface noise and glitches keeps the tension from stagnating. This is a massive leap, musically speaking, from anything Baptista Benedict has released for a while. From its opening bars, it makes you sit up pay attention. This immediacy is something that has been missing from Baptista Benedict releases in the past. Rather than leading you gently to the crux of the song, he’s cut to the chase and plugged us straight into the main vein from the start.
The remaining tracks feel like part of the same soundscape that has been chopped, edited, re-ordered and passed through a sieve. This is more like the Baptista Benedict of old. Everything feels like a sepia photograph. You can see the image, but around the edges it’s starting to blur and tear. In places, due to the passage of time, the photo has got scratched and mangled, the same is true for these five songs. While you can hear their content perfectly, their audio content feels like with each play it erodes slightly. All of this adds for a wonderfully unsettling listen. You can’t help but concentrate on the music when it is being played, but at the same time you manage to drift in and out of it with ease.
At times Ratchet[ed] F[ ]awn sojourns into pop’s territory, a first for Baptista Benedict, but it works as the melodies at insanely catchy. The Assault on Precinct MBB is well underway!