Posted by: Jimmy For Reals on April 7, 2014
If I had to describe Green Nose’s music to a stranger with the ultimate aim of getting them to listen to it, I’d probably end up settling with something vague and inappropriate, like ‘bonkers’ or ‘mental’, which wouldn’t be doing it justice at all. Loosely speaking you could approximate it as a mixture of Chiptune, Digidub and Beats, but Ying Yang 666 doesn’t really come close to fitting into any of those moulds, instead roving restlessly across a range of styles without ever really settling down. His previous albums were comparatively simpler affairs, taking a whimsical approach to 8 bit melody and marrying it to neck snapping hip-hop beats – sort of like a stylistic collision between Dibia$e and Tapes only with more of a focus on fun, and whilst this latest offering still comes complete with that 90’s videogame sound, it’s a much more serious album in a number of ways.
If 2011’s Hyper Coloured T-shirts was an offbeat, indie Mario-style adventure and 2012’s Zelax a colourful jaunt through graffiti flecked back streets and rainbow-hued cloudscapes, then Ying Yang 666 is Green Nose’s dungeon crawler album, complete with bizarre monsters and amusing-yet-gruesome pitfall deaths around every corner. Ephemeral curiosities pop up all over the place, seemingly at odds with the theme of their setting, yet somehow managing to sound like they belong all the same; there’s even a doleful Church Bell sample which closes out Stickers on what proves to be an outlandish yet inspired note. What makes it most remarkable though, is that he manages to tread a fine line between video arcade nostalgia and whole range of contemporary styles without falling into mawkish pastiche or simply adding the 8-Bit aesthetic as an afterthought, something that can’t always be said for other proponents of the sound.
Whilst there’s something to be said for the roughshod DIY aesthetic of his earlier work, which tended to comprise more of beat sketches rather than complete songs, it’s a real pleasure to hear most of the tracks on Ying Yang 666 really develop from simplistic beginnings into increasingly complex and layered forms – Stimpy being one particularly fine example, threading everything from pixel-lazer blasts, grass hopper car alarms and anti-gravity jump-FX into an ominous bassline and deep south hip hop beats. Elsewhere Green Nose experiments with frenetic, loosely approximated Shangaan-electro styles on Jafrica, polyrhythmic music-box drillcore on Pygmies – sounding like pixelated avatars of Shitmat and Battles throwing down in toytown- and jungle snare laced Italo-Disco on Marble Statues, which is as crazy and entertaining as it sounds.
Download Ying Yang 666 on Dubtemple Records here.
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