Repulsive (Cyber Dude, 2010)
For: Black Dice, Mouse On Mars, Coil
Byline: Noisy, funky, extraterrestrial beats: Boy Fruit lays 'em down, you do 'em up.
I’m smiling right now. Know why? I’m listening to a song called “Alien Swing” by Jason Harmon - a.k.a. Boy Fruit - and it’s one of the most demonically twisted, yet utterly funky beats I’ve come across in some time. Boy Fruit comes to us from Ohio of all places. Wait... is that right? Ohio? Do aliens hang out in Ohio? Do they have raves there? If they do, Boy Fruit might have an established residence as permanent DJ for whatever club they get down at up there in... Maumee. I don’t even want to think about what goes on at these throw-downs, especially given the grotesque (yet enticingly amazing) album art shown above, but I’m happy nonetheless bumping their jamz.
Repulsive is the newest installment of Boy Fruit tunes, one of four releases he’s now compiled, all of which you can snag off his website (linked below). I haven’t had a chance to peruse any older material yet, but Repulsive would be an impressive introduction to any artist, so this may not be a bad place to start. The album sounds pitch-bent slightly downward, resulting in a mix that feels like it’s been constructed on a soft foundation of quicksand. Oddball, whirl-a-gig noises funnel dizzyingly around your ears beneath smart, melodic hooks that tightrope walk along a wire of atonality. Synths operate here like vocals, but those of an extraterrestrial mournfully moaning away. It’s all caked together like mud atop dimensionally-shifting tunnels of drone and a trudging groove. Though the whole thing meshes well and seems fully formed, it still drips at its sides and feels unstable... remember that alien thing that killed Lieutenant Yar? This stuff kind of sounds like that guy looked. It’s also similarly slow-moving, dark and strangely sinister in tone.
The coolest thing about Boy Fruit is that though this is indeed weirdo noise experimentalism, somehow the project filters these sentiments through pop music mainstays and forms. “YOY” is a waltz, “Lump Dump” feels inspired by dub-house, and so on. Multiple listens work to unearth questions with few answers - an infinite puzzle that’ll never quite be solved but is impossible to resist from trying. It’s no surprise that this came to us here at the TOME literally within days of another release by an artist called First Dog to Visit the Center of the Earth. The two seem to be somewhat in cahoots with one another, as FDVCE appears to have posted a pic of a couple in bed together on Boy Fruit's MySpace page - the female is denoted as Boy Fruit, the male as FDVCE. Yikes. Expect a run down of FDVCE in the coming days, but for now, just take note that if you like one, you’ll probably love the other. The main differences I hear have to do with function: Boy Fruit’s tendency to produce songs that feel more like singles might be the rowdy, party-crazy teenage little brother to FDVCE’s sprawling segues and conceptually artful nerdiness.
Ohio, though... srsly. Who knew?
p.s. Boy Fruit's MySpace page lists "Cyber Dude" as his record label. Hopefully it's not this Cyber Dude...