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Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

By: Jerry the Condor

Review Written by: Ben Waddington



       One of the first albums I got to review for KCSC was “Dirty Rotten Scoundrel,” an album by an underground artist by the name of Jerry the Condor. Although I recognize that using Spotify as a metric has its limitations, it’s worth noting that he only has 6 monthly listeners on the platform. This is by far the best album I have gotten at KCSC so far and it’s clear that Jerry’s music has what it takes to be enjoyed by a lot more people. 

       Although I am not a fanatic for raves and EDM music, I do enjoy listening to a selection of electronic music. I would describe this album as a combination of Drum & Bass and IDM with a futuristic feel to it, I’m sure people who are more experienced with the nuances of different genres in the electronic music scene, could put a more specific description to it, but I would say it’s a little like Aphex Twin with more of a DnB style groove, I say this because it has an otherworldly and space-like theme that they chose for the sounds they used, (similar to some of the work done by Aphex) but it has the repetitive composition of a DnB tune. 

       There’s a lot of ‘dirty bass’ patches I can hear that have been expertly crafted, one in particular in “Listen to the Voices” has a bass sound that oscillates back and forth and sort of sounds like a plastic tube being stretched in and out, except with a different envelope to make it sound musical and alien-like.

       Sticking with the plastic tube theme, there is a also I higher pitched note that might be a higher pitched version of the lower sample, that sounds almost like a whirly-tube, both samples have some sort of vibrato or phasing effect on them that makes it sounds like the pitch is moving, very good patchwork in my opinion. 

Another aspect I enjoy about this project is its refreshing changes from songs. This album follows a spacey theme the entire way through, but it varies in the style of music it could be classified as, keeping things always changing in each song, keeping it from being boring. One song may sound like its super traditional DnB with more simple beats, and a next song could be very IDM-like, with a lot of unexpected upbeats and a more ethereal-feel, (less dancy). A good example of this would be “Space Cats Have Taken over”, which has a lot of syncopated snare beats, (uncommon in DnB but common in IDM). 

       Jerry The Condor takes a classic genre that anyone can enjoy and adds its own personal flavor to the mix, pushing the envelope on what you can do with different styles of electronic. I would say “Warlock” is my favorite track on the album because it combines sounds and ideas from the previous tracks on the album and mixes them all together for a powerful IDM jam with lots of unexpected turns and surprises. 

       I am partial to Warlock because it has a very tasteful implementation of brass instrument sounds, which is difficult to recreate in a MIDI environment. Listen to any song with a MIDI controlled trumpet sample and you’d understand what I mean. The samples in Jerry’s album however, sound like they fit in the song. There is sort of a tuba/bass trombone-esque software instrument that he uses for the bassline in Warlock, that I think sounds very similar to the real thing and the distortion and reverb on it is just the right amount for it to be recognizable, but tasteful. Another notable track, “Grave” (feat. Jumbo Fresh), is very different from the tracks that preceded it, with a straighter groove like house or club music, but still uses interesting patches that make it still IDM, this tack also features a higher pitched sample that sounds like a guitar pluck or a pitched up vocal which I enjoy the sound of, reminds me of video game music. One weakness I would say this album has is that it can definitely be a little repetitive and can get boring if you aren’t in the correct mood, but I would like to counter this point by saying that for DnB standards, this album has quite a lot of nuance to it and in comparison to the average EDM song, there is quite a bit of variation going on and has a high freshness factor if you’re looking for it. Although this album might not be for everyone due to its weird laser sounds and constant syncopations, I would still recommend this for anyone who enjoys electronic music, as there’s a lot of unique techniques that are being used and I am always in support of any sort of experimentation in music. My favorite tracks on this album are Warlock (4), Grave (5),The Machine (7), and Pistol Grip (8). However, it’s worth mentioning this album feels like a completed concept and the whole album is greater than the sum of its parts.

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