Crimes of the Future
Music Ration Entertainment
Undeterred by a falling out with Martin Atkins’s Invisible label, Jason Bazinet continues on the futurist warpath with SMP (Sounds of Mass Production). The Seattle native, who is now the sole force behind the band, is an anomaly since he is as much a hip-hop acolyte as he is a devoted industrial enthusiast.
With Crimes, SMP’s sixth effort, Bazinet raps and somewhat sings his way in that digitized scowl through sixteen tracks of well-crafted drum sequences, barbed-wire guitars and a decent array of electronic noises (thanks much in part to the programming savvy of Christ Analogue’s Wade Alin). Sure, the cyber themes are protocol in the industrial world, and Bazinet appears to have read the playbook twice over. But to his credit, he scrawls a line of demarcation before crossing over into incredibly cheesy, overdone Terminator 2-themed territory.
The opening “This Perfect Day” sees Bazinet get right down to business, spouting breakbeat-metal and contemplative vitriol as if it was still 1995 and Gravity Kills was an MTV staple. This doesn’t mean he still can’t rock a body, but Bazinet simply sounds better on tracks like the Wumpscut/Leather Strip-style brood of “Retro Human.” To keep things interesting, Bazinet also offers two impressive covers of punk classics, Agent Orange’s “Bloodstains” and TSOL’s “I’m Tired of Life.” The first is a Ministry-blessed fury of speed-punk rendered through software tools; the second features pummeling double-bass, synth howls and, of course, plenty of guitar chugs to complement TSOL’s sardonic wit.
The second-half of the set features even more interesting moments, as Bazinet seems to have saved his energy for the home stretch. Psy-trance textures and hyper-speed beats emerge, as the SMP mastermind weaves his passable mic-spitting with abrasive croons and hi-fi sonics on “The Cage” and “Food Slot.” On the dark & blunted “24 Hours,” Bazinet tells a tale from the ashes of an urban wasteland, using sinewy G-funk keys and melancholic orchestration to weave its fabric. This track best exemplifies that SMP is unafraid to cross-pollinate genres within the sci-fi context, something that would make MCs like El-P proud. The fact that this also pisses off purists is what makes Bazinet & Co. so appealing, and even with lineup changes and label problems, it’s good to see SMP still keeping it real six albums in.