“FOOTCRAB FOOTCRAB FOOTCRAB F-F-F-FFOOTCRAB FOOTCRAB FOOTCRAB FOOTCRAB F-F-FF” as we’re careful not to choke on our tongue. There’s a whole demographic of kids eager to geek out on a barely-tilted snare sound, just imagine the pandemonium when Addison Groove (Antony Williams) threw his gauntlet. “Footcrab” was the quintessential juke anthem, the sort of all-hands-on-deck bedlam that bypasses the brain and directly exploits the body; it was the premiere “OH SHIT” moment of 2010, peerless in its proud obviousness. It’s unspeakable, indescribable, held in no parameter or criterion – dressed in crisp, scarlet propulsion. Nobody knows what a footcrab is, but we do know that something otherworldly happens to the human body on the other side of its momentum.
Two years have disappeared and people are making music that’s just as silly, but never with the same reckless honesty. For dance music, a scene that moves at hyperspace Twitter-feed speeds, “Footcrab” remains a remarkably singular experience – so much so that it’s hard imagining the schematics of an album that could possibly contain it. Transistor Rhythm is Addison Groove’s first longform affair with an attentive audience, and in some ways he plays it safe, unable or unwilling to summon something exotic, definite or challenging – instead settling for a tight, defendable montage of pummeling juke beats.
Addison Groove has never captured his point of view on an album before, like most producers, he’s most comfortable administering brief, concentrated experiences. As such Transistor Rhythm could’ve easily been parceled out in intermittent doses, the only real association these songs have is the track listing. Flawed, aimless, and childishly eager, it’s a record that wants to be everywhere all at once, but that’s not always a bad thing. There’s something charming to its clumsy navigation – like a pensive Williams surveying his gathered material, shrugging as the obtuseness of its polychromatic throb. A lively, dizzy-weird dance record freshly pressed from the DJ circuit.
“Sooperlooper” is the stupidest. A flushed, brassy strut of bleating synths, tropical drums, and a jittery vocal-sample, you can practically see the gushing soundcloud comments eclipsing after the shitkicking opening-third. Still, it stops just short of being bonkers-dumb. A few tracks later Spank Rock endlessly toasts about pussy over a buzzing bass-rumble, but even that feels a little guarded. 2012’s Addison Groove isn’t after the iconoclasm dollar; his new tunes are a little more viscous, introverted, coiled, and digestible – gently resonating a quiet expertise.
“Skylight” swirls like an ode to the diva-led house of the mid ‘90s, but Williams’ leading lady is grated to a few loose syllables and a shredded 808 twerp. “Rudeboy” might be “Footcrab’s” mellower cousin, but the stuttering, titular sample is a lot more seasick than danceable. The red-out sonic debris of “Ass Jazz” is shockingly serious for a throwaway name. For any complaints you could lobby with Transistor Rhythm, there’s no denying that it’s full of worthy, tightly-orchestrated music. There aren’t any mailed-in moments to speak of. Addison Groove has recorded his own personal joyride, there’s nothing universal. You’ll fall in love with him on his terms.
Closer “Starluck” is tangled between baggy bass-thumps, phosphorescent synth darts, and a cartoonish slink. It pounds out its aggression and disappears off the other end. It is not the ideal closing act, but nothing on Rhythm really fits that bill. It’s hard to be surprised. Addison Groove specializes in bizarre, microscopic journeys; the pitfalls are obvious when those are stretched into an opera. Edgy, flashpoint moments desperately searching for a sensible thesis, a record that puffs up endorphins but remains strangely ajar in our memories, it’s got the wafer-thin philosophic density of a singles comp. You can’t knock the songs, but it’s hard to swallow whole.