By Kiah Easton, Staff Writer
[PC Music; 2019]
Key tracks: “Supablievan”, “BOING”, “Poleten”
Lil Data’s music is described aptly through just their name. In their latest release, Folder Dot Zip, their aesthetic cohesion becomes even more defined. Lil Data plays with sound like it’s in a digital sandbox environment, testing out each parameter thoroughly and displaying the power of modern music production. This project feels like a stream of consciousness expressed through the digital tools at our disposal today; songs flow into each other with a sense of spontaneity and self-aware experimentation. Although there are several questionable musical decisions and an occasional sense of free form laziness, the album is an exciting trip through the motherboard of electronic music, unzipping the potential the genre holds.
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“Supablievin” is the track that affirms Lil Data’s righteous place within the PC Music label. As the rest of the album strays from PC’s traditional hyper-pop realism into much more experimental noise and broken down footwork, “Supablievin” still contains the classic PC sounds. Rich and indulgent synth stabs broken by the percussive vocal rhythms pitched and chopped provide a dance-inspiring groove.
“BOING”, in contrast, displays raw data mangling with a playful sense of experimentalism. Mashing vocal chops to the point of oblivion, a tight loop broken up by spurts of breakbeat and industrial noise. The combination of elements transitioning, morphing and popping in and out provides a disorientingly digital experience representative of internet culture today.
Not straying far from the industrial computer noise of “BOING”, “Poleten” surfs the airwaves with high-frequency pink noise. A jumpy rhythm held together loosely by a hi-hat transitions into an 8-bit circus delight and is later destroyed by the harsh industrial sounds of what sounds like a computer on its last leg, processing more data than ever before thought possible.
Folder Dot Zip, like most of Lil Data’s work, stands out dramatically against the hyper-realism associated with PC Music. A refreshing break from the steadfast perfectionism within other artists on the label, Lil Data indulges in mistakes and revels in experimentation. As their name implies, Lil Data shows the internal side of music production: the raw data. As if pulling back the curtains on the entire PC Aesthetic, this is the computer overheating in the back, hiding behind the glossy perfection of the final package. As a whole, Folder Dot Zip is an avant-garde perspective on electronic music, stripping the genre of its polished cohesion and providing only the dirtiest internal elements. Although this has the potential to be ugly, the concept provides an interesting and fresh perspective on a genre already well-defined.