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Role Model

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Album Review

Perhaps it's an album made even more interesting by virtue of Rjyan Kidwell's eventual attempts to extricate himself from an insular and exclusive electronic music community, but even within IDM's own rigid terms, Role Model is a beautiful, caterwauling mess. To be this technically proficient (and this willfully experimental) at the age of 19 is one matter, but Kidwell's impressive compositional command at this early stage is another entirely. From the opening acid-tinged wibblings of the Aphex Twin-inspired "At Least I Can Say I Tried" to the twitchy, mutilated cut and paste of the chiming "Am I Soundboy" through to the gutsy rejig of the Dismemberment Plan's "Academy Award," this is clearly the work of a kid who values melody and structure above all else. Alas, even in view of Kidwell's general adherence to this template, there remain a few critical missteps; a host of frankly unlistenable stabs of white noise render "Again and Again" a "punk" misunderstanding while the stuttering "Love Cop" fails to engage in any meaningful way. In the context of the record, however, these misfires amount to minor quibbles; while not as forward thinking or as rabble-rousing as most of Kidwell's later records, Role Model is a crucial formative step forward.

Customer Reviews

This is brilliant

Some of his other works...Not so much. But this is one of the greatest IDM albums ever created.


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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Role Model, Cex
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Customer Ratings

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