It seems to me that Cepia is about owning it right now. Just look at the album credits: Artist: Cepia. Album Title: Cepia. Label: Cepia Music. As someone who was recently laid off from a job (it was last week, yo) and having since been trying to work on my own projects (including this very site) I can say that while it's nice to do a good job for someone else nothing feels better than doing it for yourself (Like Nathalie Portman talking about Darren Aronofsky's approach to getting her to do excellent work for "Black Swan" in last night's Golden Globe Awards, "Do this one for yourself."). Maybe I'm putting too much of my own life experience in how I interpret the music - but so be it. Cepia must be in a good place because this music is so upbeat and hopeful. It's also a lot of fun to listen to if you are into the slightly downtempo (less so here) beat musics.
I'm not used to my beat scene tracks being upbeat or uplifting. I'm used to some moody shit that makes you ponder the great question or even why the hell you haven't cleaned out your closet yet. Well, "Untitled III" seems to buck that trend as does "Ithaca" and most of the other songs here save for a few more ambient excursions.
"Ithaca" is on some pretty straightforward "let's make a good beat" shit. There's melody though too, so that helps propel things forward. This isn't just a beat, I don't want to belittle it that way. There's a real sense of melody and purpose here. But there's also some real joy. Maybe I took for granted that the the sort of electronic music I am usually into tends to be on downtempo real moody shit. This isn't and to be honest in a strange way it's refreshing to me.
Still, I don't want to misrepresent what is here. This is still in-line with what you are used to if you are a fan of this genre of music. I mean, the core elements are all here - distorted electronic instruments and almost 8-bit sounds that I think us fans of this sort of music had to have heard as having its genesis in game music. This isn't dance music per se. You aren't going to necessarily hear this at a club (though, if you do, let me know where that club is so I can check it out). This isn't "Instrumental Hip-Hop" either. It's that area between downtempo Electronic Hip-Hop and Dance while being neither exactly. "Hootenanny" is a really good track that - if you listen to it - fills exactly that grey area that I'm referring to. This genre of music is so hard to describe using words so you have to talk about in terms of feeling...and for this somewhat geeky music fanatic, all I can say is that songs like "Hootenanny" make me smile.
"Year To Year" brings Prefuse 73 to mind - minus some scratches. But there it is again, you can hear it if you listen close. There are the elements of the things I love in the genre but with an additional sense of joy and hope that I think most of the moody shit that I listen to in some of Cepia's contemporaries lack.
"Incuratus In Se" is my favorite song on the set (with "Ithaca" coming in at a close second). Man...this one, as a remix you put some Thom Yorke verses on this...this was the only track on the album that I thought would have benefited from some non-electronic elements on it. That's not a dis! This track is amazing enough on its own. But I can't help but wonder what a Thom Yorke, or Esthero, or Tracy Thorn would do on this. Again, ambient in a sense and also hopeful.
About the only negative I can say about this album is that I wanted some of the shorter, ambient tracks to be longer. I found a lot to love on this album and I appreciated the sort of straightforward, joyful approach to the music. I guess sometimes when you do it for yourself you can make a whole lot of o$ther people happy.
4.200 out of 5
|1. Untitled III (03:01)||4|
|2. Ithaca (03:39)||5|
|3. Hootenanny (03:56)||4|
|4. Hype Man (01:37)||4|
|5. Year to Year (03:43)||4|
|6. Public Address (01:57)||4|
|7. Incurvatus in Se (03:28)||5|
|8. Me and My Gin (03:22)||4|
|9. You Don't Know What It Means to Win (03:14)||4|
|10. Cord (03:39)||4|