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Built to Be Brought Down

Brahm

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Album Review

You never know what to expect from a record on the Lujo label, do you? Well, that's not completely true — you know that much of the time you can expect about an hour's worth of hellacious noise. But then they pull a fast one on you. The front cover of Brahm's second album (first for Lujo) features a painting of a semi-nude woman in an attitude of despair, and the back cover lists songs with titles like "Out of the Ashes of Destruction," "Catacombs," and "Night's Hollow Stare." Expecting a less funny version of, say, Lightning Bolt, you put the disc in the player and — surprise! You get a sometimes harsh but generally funky and even lighthearted mix of sounds, an album in which even the crunchiest track has a sweet candy center. That's not to say that everything is exactly cheerful, or even that everything is exactly interesting: a few of these tracks fall flat, notably the aimlessly jazzy retro-funk of "Next Time, Fists Will Fly" and the even more aimless and less funky "Wings Like Razors." But "The Stars in Your Hair" offers a nice, long excursion into glitchy drum'n'bass with orchestral samples, "The Skull" offers the opportunity to dance a jig if you're so inclined (and listen carefully enough to suss out the time signature), and "A Chandelier of a Man" creates a mood of quiet, strangely off-kilter contemplation. Definitely worth hearing overall.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

What began as a simple fascination with hip-hop in the 1980s became a living for Chaz Barber, who records sample-based music as Brahm. As a youth, the Washington, D.C.-area artist bought hundreds of records, to the point where they overtook his living space. In 1994 he went one step further and purchased a ASR sampling keyboard. Soon Barber began recycling his old records into new productions of his own. Perhaps just as importantly, though, he also began producing various D.C.-area artists, from...
Full bio
Built to Be Brought Down, Brahm
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