[HEAVY GLITCH] Let's face it, the "mashup" microgenre—which creates new songs from samples of seemingly mismatched others—exploded to 10 times the size anyone expected it to thanks to Girl Talk's now-worshiped mashup album, Night Ripper. The snark masters at music-insider website Idolator even ran an Onion-esque "obituary" for the genre in June ("The mash-up died yesterday. It was 5 years old."). So, it's all the more notable that the three (and counting) "mixtapes" released by Cassidy DeMarco, a.k.a. Gouseion, are shit-hot and still totally relevant.
It helps that said releases (untitled, save for the Mixtape, Vol. heading) don't fall back on the obvious indie-rock-versus-rap ironies that launched Night Ripper (and its followers) into the stratosphere of hipster/geek appeal. Perhaps DeMarco lost interest after spending a few formative years recording indie rock as C++, but more likely he just knows the gimmick's worn. Gouseion's tapes, rather, are small works of wonder that romance the latter-day descendants of the gangsta rap the 28-year-old grew up with (NWA, 2 Live Crew) with modern soul classics—he even pulls off a Michael Jackson splice without it sounding clichéd. He tops the mix off with his own particular flavor for crushing analog synth and stuttering, heart-attack beats.
It's that flavor that, in the end, saves the tapes from the mashup grave. And it can be found in its naked, sample-stripped techno form on DeMarco's proper debut, last month's Puisne. DeMarco (who recently spent a year in Tokyo) says "gouseion" is the Romanization of the Japanese word for "synthetic sound," and Puisne's 8-bit style stands out like a cell phone ring in church. But where similar artists tend to bathe their tones in melancholic blue, DeMarco imbues his with blistering red: Gangsta rap and breakbeats are just as lodged in his brain as Aphex Twin's benchmark Analord series. And it makes sense: "Making hip-hop and playing as Brokaw [his hip-hop duo with Disscompany boss Colin Jones] really pushed me to start playing out and promoting my own shit," explains DeMarco. Add his "undying love for IDM and noise shit" (he performs noise music solo as Minijack) to the mix, and Gouseion comes out on top.
Yes, that's an absurd number of music projects for a decade of recording—not to mention that Puisne and all three mixtapes came out this year. But that's exactly why it's so awesome to think of the force DeMarco will be in another 10. .