Miguel Baptista Benedict leaves the best for last in 2015
Miguel Baptista Benedict has had a great year. Not only has he released a slew of albums and singles, including the beast mbb_ex album and the glitched out js8h2k singles, but he has now released a new album cow.
Given the diversity and depth of Benedict’s back catalogue cow sits somewhere in the middle between 2013’s Super(b)-Child Ran and this years bedsores (regurgitations and loops). Basically this means that while the music is beautifully crafted and painstakingly organised, there are parts what are just pulsating white noise. While this might not sound like a good thing, given their context in the songs, it is exquisite organised chaos.
The album opens with something that sounds like an Add N to (X) B-Side from 1998, cut up vocals samples that are on the verge of inaudible, but you manage to pick out a few choice words. It’s a bit like going on holiday to a country whose language you studied at school, but you have used/thought about for a decade. You get the jist of it and can work out what’s going on, but you have no idea how to explain what’s wrong with your lunch, without resulting to your native tongue. die ann key ton start off sounding like an ultrasound, while ominous synths fizz and hum about, until a drum beat appears and ushers in the outro. re_2 is made up of a few simple loops that are layered to create an unsettling atmosphere until a faux house melody kicks in which takes the song to an entirely different level. This is the blueprint for the album. Just when you think you have a handle on everything BAM Miguel Baptista Benedict throws in an unexpected element and the song is going off in a totally different tangent.
trek[ed] flush is one of the stand out tracks on cow. A synth builds tension, while a repetitive drum keeps time. As the song progresses glitchy effects lurk and skulk around the shadows of the song, until they are brave enough to come to the forefront and everything takes on a possessed/haunted vibe. yell at selective hearing is the most abrasive track on the album. This doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable, far from it, as it progresses you get drawn into the rich tapestry of its intricate melody, but its not an easy listen. However by the halfway mark you’re so under its spell you don’t realise that its made up of mostly distorted/abused/white nose samples. detergent sounds like a dirty remix of Vangelis as his most fluid and lyrical. This combination really works well and helps push cow into uncharted realms. The album closed as it started with heavily manipulated vocal samples, sounding a bit like a skit form Chris Morris’ excellently twisted Blue Jam series.
Out of all of Benedict’s releases this year it’s hard to pick a favourite. They all sound totally different, but at the same time unmistakably Miguel Baptista Benedict. That being said, there is something about cow’s composition and production that with each listen something new pops out, or you re-think the whole piece. This is a rare trait, and marks a great musician from a bedroom hobbyist. Let’s hope is another vintage year for Miguel Baptista Benedict!