I’m staring at the DAW as the hours slip by, looping the same rhythmic section over and over again. The perfect synth tone is here somewhere. With each repeat I try a new one. A little more bounce maybe? Perhaps if it were distorted? Less abrasive? Is that the one? No – this one? Too obnoxious? The rhythmic pattern emerges with a different outfit on, huffs at itself in the mirror and then dives back behind the curtain. This is “Articulator”, the opening track on Meme Booth: a restless reframing of its recursive rhythmic refrain (a squared-off-bass-drum-hand-clap-pummel) like a mantra spoken by a succession of different voices. In one light it’s an explosive opening; in another it’s a weary circling of the elusive exact, each thump only furnishing the fatigue of option paralysis, fated to skulk the margins of the “not quite right”.
The rest of the album pulls upon this meld of vibrancy and digital fidgeting. The shapes are utterly gigantic, with synths cast into frozen waterfalls or cockpit emergencies, each sound screaming to be rendered in the most garish colours. Yet the rhythms let slip of the album’s underlying precariousness, pounding ceaselessly as if scared of falling silent, the irregular timing placing the dancefloor on an ankle-snapping slant. On “Flexbox”, the beat slots into place but keeps bouncing out of joint again, playing rickety bedrock for indecisive electronics that flit from static to trance anthem and back. The seven-minute “Disconnection Is A Form Of Rebellion” can’t decide whether to splurge its backlogged euphoria now or save some for later; it switches between building from below and showering down from on high, not so much baiting the drop as deferring the courage to jump. Perhaps this is what happens when you swim in the internet for too long? Decision melts in the soup of categorical assertions and their righteously declared opposites. Some are saying that it’s a wonderful encapsulation of how too much digitally-devoured meaning will always collapse into a sort of technicolour chaos, although frankly I don’t know what to think.