Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome To Salem

Salem is the latest hot commodity in the ever trendy and ever growing field of chillwave, gothwave, midipop, electroscuzz whatever. This trio of homeless looking synth fiends pedal a dark brew of hip hop beats, broken synths, and distorted washes that sound as if the world is ending every three and half minutes. Their self-titled debut album is a slightly depressing yet hauntingly good adventure into the realms of the ethereal. If you ever wondered if it were possible for hip hop and synth pop to coexist next to each other, Salem answers that question with an eleven song blast of broken down rhythms from the great beyond.

Salem is an interesting record not because of how catchy or infectious it is as a pop record but because it’s so incredibly detached and cold that you can’t help but sit in awe of what they are doing. Taking jeep beats and a drum machine demo program, Salem mold beats to their wispy synth washes at will. The result is something that sounds like the Cocteau Twins stuck in Compton. As if to make that point, Salem takes a hip hop vocal and slows it down to about half speed and lets the voice sound like a man dying as he’s flowing his last words. It’s brutal and scary stuff that makes its mark at about 65 beats per minute.

Some people might find Salem too weird, too slow, or too bizarre to like. I myself find those reasons the best reasons to love this record. Salem are bizarre and look like they live under Interstate 95; they manage to make music that’s cold, clinical, minimal, and frightening. Salem is the sound of death, it’s the sound of you shuffling off your mortal coil and passing on to the netherworld…it’s not easy to hear but it’s something you must listen to. Salem is awesome and despite their obvious hipster credentials they’ve made a record that might just scare the bejesus out of you it’s so good.

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