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Maryland Mansions

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Album Review

A double entendre involving his hometown and Marilyn Manson in the title isn't just the first thing that jumps out when listening to this latest Cex offering, his second of 2003. Like Being Ridden or 2001's Oops, I Did It Again!, the dark messy side of Rjyan Kidwell comes out straight away with the screaming near-horrorcore of "Drive Off a Mountain," before venturing into territory that was silently boiling under and slightly alluded to in most of his other work. Gone is the good-time kid-around vibe that is the hallmark of Cex's live performances, and in its place is a man troubled with his own identity and the identities of those around him. All but abandoning the glitch, drill'n'bass, and cut-and-paste elements that were hallmarks of his Tigerbeat years, Cex has taken to mainly live instruments and straight-ahead hip-hop beats with a slight not to the Anticon camp. Maryland Mansions is the album that Rjyan Kidwell, not Cex, has always wanted to make and the album most Cex fans will not be expecting — which is a good thing, as Cex has always tried to defy expectations with every release. Dark without being hokey or excessively melodramatic, this is a wonderfully disturbing album, brutally honest to the core.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Cex has no qualms about his desire to be a Rolex-wearing pop and rap star, and his music actually lies in the realm of intelligent dance music. At the age of 19, Rjyan Kidwell already had a catalog of releases and a record label behind him. His upbeat and over the top personality splattered a large dash of color across a subgenre of techno that is often bland and too mechanical. In 1998, Kidwell started Underscore Records and released a triplet of CD-Rs, one by him and two by friends. Only 600 of...
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Maryland Mansions, Cex
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