Books on Tape

Books on Tape

Books on Tape

The Business End


The press release for Books on Tape’s latest claims that Todd Drootin (BoT’s brain trust) invented “beatpunk,” yet another meaningless sub-genre of IDM. The problem with defining this term through Drootin’s music is that “beatpunk” consists simply of taking various forms of music and splicing in lo-fi percussive fury. There is no punk in the Tin Pan Alley vamp “People That Don’t Like Me/People That I Don’t Like,” aside from the contortionist drum programming and poor title grammar. There are moments when Drootin’s collision of sounds yields interesting results: “The Truth, the Whole Truth, & an Assortment of Lies” — punk punctuation this time — is one evil circus sideshow, with swirling harsh sounds and tauntingly soft melodies. The follow-up to this track, “Gray Matters,” continues with the menace in a more chilled vein by opting for an 8-bit analog mix. “Ill Team Captain” probably reaches closest to punk by the simple fact it’s anchored by the lifted bass line from Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control.” Sadly, the disc loses whatever head of steam it had built up by “Bullets,” a slight, misguided attempt at intimacy. “What Satan Said to Me” has a noisy mid-section that vies at re-awakening interest but in the end, The Business End only inspires me to dig out my copy of Joy Division’s Substance.


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