Christian Farrar – Shitty Music You Won’t Understand – Album Review
ALWAYS good to see an artist return to our pages – especially the off-kilter and crazy-ones like Christian Farrar. I think it was nearly a year back now since we last heard from this mixtape-madman…and did I expect to hear that this guy has straightened himself out and gone the corporate route? Of course not. I expected pretty much what came at me here in this latest offering from Christian…the bizarre…the extreme…the humour…the all-out creativity…and especially the imagination of an artist that truly does love the craft much more than he’ll ever seem to let on. Christian Farrar is the constant definition of the undersell…you don’t expect him and you don’t see him coming, and he won’t mention a single moment as being worth your time on Shitty Music You Won’t Understand. I mean…I don’t want to accuse a guy of not telling it like it is, but from everything you’ll read about Farrar on his Soundcloud page you’d assume you were in for the worst of the worst – but that’s definitely not the case once again with the music on his new record, just like the last time around.
Bizarre, certainly…that label definitely still applies…but as far as the rest goes I’d pay it no nevermind – the skills are here and all over the place on this record once again. I give him real credit where he won’t – and quite honestly, I’m not sure how he exactly goes about doing what he does. Some of these ideas come out extraordinarily well executed and show the genius that he can be…and like all-things experimental, he has some moments where he trips right-the-fuck-out never to return. Will you go with him on Shitty Music You Won’t Understand? I mean…he sure makes it sound inviting doesn’t he?
I’d be the second to last person to guarantee anything claim anything crazy like you’d be able to follow along with Christian’s bouncing-ball and stick with him from thought to thought, sound to sound or transition to transition…he’s made music for the A.D.D.-nation and put together several tracks on this record of seventeen-songs that are full of that Inception-esque song-within-a-song-within-a-song feeling. Sometimes he’ll allow you to digest the idea in-full and let the music or part expand, others he’s quickly moving onto the next part by the time you get your mind around what you just heard through your face-holes.
The record certainly starts on a genius-note with one of the most evil-renditions and spooky beginnings only made even more eerie by the distant-voice of The Little Mermaid enveloped in the deep of the murk. From there on in, “Beginning” pulses with big low-end and smartly edits-in rad vocal-samples before Farrar starts into his own verse as the track takes a massively hypnotic turn. It’s as loose as electro-music gets…but there’s no doubt that Christian is in full-control of every moment that plays on. Again…when things happen like, breaking down into the harmonica solo at the end…I mean…you’re either gonna dig that or not. I can appreciate it…it’s not something you hear every day in the style that he chooses to bring it in.
There’s a smoothness to the first three-minutes of “Yo” which you’ll dig on for sure…but I’d have to say it was actually the switch into what I’m assuming is actually a cello-sample from Yo-Yo Ma? Just a guess…if I didn’t see the title, I’d assume it was a violin I’m hearing in the final two-minutes, but what do I know anyway? All I know is that I love the sound of it, whether it’s him on the cello, violin or whatever sample…love it. Not sure if I felt the ending or not…I kinda like the flow, but I think I would have broken this piece off into a small chunk of its own rather than add it to what might have been a much more effective ending to “Yo.”
“Funk Atmo Ook Koo” Featuring O!K! TEAM, Rick Bars and a whole ton of madness…it’s difficult to comment on an album like this where there are so many facets to the ideas and music…so many defined parts. So how’s about this…I was doing great until the Ook Koo Cha Choo’s started, and then he lost me; but so did The Beatles in that same respect. First two-thirds are great, last third I’d have scrapped altogether I think…it at least made the switch into “Me & Me” a completely welcome one. A much more solid idea and performance from Christian here…great jazzy sample meeting with distorted guitars in the music as he rants and raves with a freestyle poetry vibe in behind the music. I kind of like it when he’s set deeper into the music like he is here…I think we’ll catch the cleverness in the words on repeat listens as opposed to needing to hear each and every one…I think that’s a good thing personally. Like…I dig the ending of “Me & Me” and its Kanye-esque switch at the end into an auto-tuned hellfire – I don’t know what the hell he’s said but I’m happy to go back, rewind and hear this one again – I think he nailed it.
After a brief riff on “Caitlyn” Jenner featuring Kill Tony, the record gets that quick moment to catch its breath before slamming into “Rogan” featuring Grime Labs, Change Grime & Mattoc. I’m fully assuming these are real people and not just alter-egos…but…it’s honestly hard to tell with Christian. He’s technically both talented enough and crazy enough to just try that, you never know… “Rogan” has moments as well…I find it subscribes much to the general rule of what I’m hearing in the album and how these songs work; they’re so long that you’ll either like some and not the rest, or at least find yourself loving one part more than another…but it’s honestly quite tough to love them as a whole when the ideas are this loose and spread out. My favorite part of Rogan would have to be its final-minute…but again, not to say I wasn’t digging it before – I was, just not as much as I ended up digging the ending.
I will say that seventeen-songs with Christian Farrar will feel like a whole lifetime. And again…whether or not that’s a good thing, will be up to you. The insanity never stops and the sheer amount of ideas continue to flow one after the other like the end of the funnel leads directly into your brain; Shitty Music You Won’t Understand…if listened to properly, like, as in for REAL…will wear you the hell right out. Between “Rising Rainbow” and its jazzy nature, and the absolutely astonishing beginning of “Spanish Leather Princess” which mixes off-kilter atmospheres and electro-mayhem before heading into the strangest acoustic part…the vocals hit the guitar notes with jagged dissonance in nearly complete contrast, matching up and making sense about one in eight notes. Not a bad singer, just wrong choices here somehow…guitar sounds great. Christian…what IS this and where did you go? How did I get here?
By the time you’re halfway through this record, if you know which way is still towards up and know the difference between your head and your ass, you’ll be better off than I was. “Spanish Leather Princess” lets the guitar drift out…which I think was a good idea; both of those ingredients were great, just not necessarily together…but her voice on her own sounds great at the end of this track. Bizarre and strange addition to his record, but that’s Christian Farrar for ya, far as I know.
“Electrified Maddness Political Rant” – ummmm. Christian. Ahem.
I’m sure there’s something interesting being said in behind all of the absolute CHAOS in the beginning…but c’mon man – YOU think about skipping by this track too by now, admit it! I’m not sure who’s out there to help assist Farrar in editing himself and maybe limiting his ideas to include maybe 70 ideas instead of 200…but he needs’em! Like…someone out there would have firmly said, the second part kicks fucking ass…and BRO, you GOTTA toss that first part, it’s grating! Where IS that person? Or is that me? I seriously dig the jazz-jam and political-rant he’s on in the second half of “Electrified Maddness Political Rant” – I even dig the over-the-top horns that come in over-the-top at the end! And on the very bright-side of this song – you get to spend much more time with the part that makes some freakin’ sense than you do with the insanity of the beginning.
Now…he’ll switch gears here a little towards the end…and the songs get shorter. Not picking on him – but the ideas also become tighter as a result. “Fluter” for example, has one of my favorite flows of Farrar on this entire record – and the whole track is under two-minutes long! I dig its combination of video-game-meets-electro-funk…I couldn’t help but smile whenever “Fluter” came on. It’s kinda ridiculous…but kinda not too…it’s a lot of fun that I don’t want to deny myself from having with Christian’s music. Much of the music isn’t completely seriously – so why should I be here right? The ending of “Fluter” is absolute GENIUS…and then he cuts you off like a dealer to a junkie and leaves you lying on the floor wishing you could just get another little taste of it so you can ‘get well.’
Some of “Number Or Person” made sense to me…I thought the beginning of it was intense and really liked the way this cut starts out. I like the message in the lyrics and that now familiar, free-style ranting/poetic nature of Farrar’s music…not sure if I was down with the filter sound on the music with the vocals, or the filter with the vocals as well…something about this idea got a little muddy for me. As it makes one of the most extreme switches on the record so far, “Number Or Person” has a truly wicked ending…could very well be one of my favorite that I’ve found on Shitty Music You Won’t Understand.
Now…”Theamerica (with Stolen Vocals From Jim Morrison)” is a real something. You see…I was never a fan of The Doors to begin with – but the fact that he’s used Jim’s voice actually makes a lot of sense to me. You can hear that same kind of raving-madness to the words of Morrison and the way that Farrar writes his own material – completely different approach and delivery, but man…the similarities are actually quite present and quite striking now that I hear Jim doing his thing on “Theamerica.” Best I’ve heard from Jim Morrison as far as I’m personally concerned!
The next cut, “What A Bigot” is incredibly interesting and insightful. It goes…to the absolute ends of the earth to make its point…but it’s more than clear if you’re listening. “What A Bigot” reflects the true nature of Farrar that’s hidden behind the franticness and the humour…underneath the surface is a young guy with a lot of talent and probably just lacking a little confidence & a little control over what he’s capable of at this stage – but you can hear audibly in a track like this that at the true-core and center of this artist, you’ll find nothing but the best of intentions for us all.
“Pork Roast.” Ha! I love getting stoned too. Apparently we have that completely in common, or at least I’d assume so from the sounds of this track. Moving on…
Big shout-out to what I think is the most genius-cut on the record, which is “Hate (HATE!).” I don’t quite know how he’s managed to do it, or put this monster-motherfucker together, but it’s like he somehow found a way to get looser, dirtier and grimier than Mickey Avalon while still retaining that drunken swagger through the opening of the track. SICK. You get a wicked speech-sample mid-track before Farrar launches into some of the most brilliant electro-sounds to line the entire record. Loved this one.
My enthusiasm continued on into “The Mime Is Dead (LOVE!),” which was probably my favorite combination of vocals and music on this whole record. I think a lot of people might mistake Farrar for a rapper of sorts…I mean, he can flow if he wants to…but his instincts for writing, structure and assembly are much more that of a spoken-word artist. His performance is gripping on “The Mime Is Dead (LOVE!)” – and that whole thing I said about best electro-sounds to line the record with “Hate (HATE!)” is severely put to the test and nearly matched with a mind-blowing EDM intrusion that busts up the middle of this song. Ending on a low-bass pulse that will leave you guessing as to when it’s really going to end…it falls away into an angry-mob of boos starting “Ending Exit Stage Left,” the album’s final track.
We made it. Somehow. It’s time for bed isn’t it? Oh my GOD it’s only TWO P.M.! Farrar has exhausted my brain entirely…it’s MUSH…and honestly I kind of like that. “Ending Exit Stage Left” ends the record with the bizarre weirdness you’d expect…he’s a strange cat, that’s for sure. I’m not sure if he needs someone to edit his ideas down…or if we all need to catch up to the sharp & quick madness of his ingenuity. Coin flip.
It might have taken what has felt like five-lifetimes to find my way to the end of this record, but once I did…the final run through of the last three songs made me want to hit this all up again…as crazy as that is and as that sounds. “Ending Exit Stage Left” ended up being one of my favorites on the entire record…and I think the last three really remind us of the extraordinary things that Farrar is capable of.