Thursday 9 April 2015

Review: cEvin Key – 'Music For Cats'

'Music For Cats'

There really isn't anything that cEvin Key can't do. The pioneering Canadian musician has made his name with Skinny Puppy and a whole host of side projects over the years. Everything from Industrial to Dub has been successfully incorporated into his musical palette. It is with this in mind that Artoffact Records have seen fit to re-release his 1998 solo début 'Music For Cats' on vinyl after years as a digital download only. So the time seems right for a retrospective review to see how the album holds up nearly 20 years later.

At the time the album was first released, Skinny Puppy had just been dissolved and Key was unencumbered by any pre-existing expectations for this first release. As such the album is a heady and experimental clash of styles that encompass classical influences, glitch, erratic and noise-driven pieces and collaborations with a number of artists including Dwayne Goettel (Skinny Puppy), Genesis P.Orridge (Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle), Philth (Download),and Mark Spybey (Dead Voices on Air).

The opening track 'Music Für Cats' immediately kicks in with a symphonic score that shows off the true depth of Key's song writing talent. This then fades into the electro-industrial sci-fi style of 'Wind On Small Paws'. The ten-plus minutes of 'Meteorite' follows on with it's crazy glitchy beats and circuit bent sounds.

There is some familiar territory though as tracks such as 'Bird', 'Blotter', 'Inside Jam World', 'Greenhouse Gasses', 'Beauty Is The Enemy', and 'Full Circle' provide more accessible listening, if still somewhat more experimental than Skinny Puppy fans would have been used to.

'Music For Cats' is an esoteric exorcism that see's Key's ideas unrestrained my commercial bias or traditional structures. It is gritty, noisy, and against the grain. But at the same time there are infectious melodies and an almost soundtrack quality in places that make it quite listenable.

It may no be everyone's cup of tear, but 'Music For Cats' is an interesting and well-crafted album full of imagination. There is little club potential and it isn't the kind of album made with mass consumption in mind. But that's kind of the point. It is Key, uninhibited by his past. Perhaps it is one for the completists, but fans of experimental electronics will also find something here to get stuck into.  

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