Combinator Gets Combinatorial on re//combinator EP

By Deuce

Take a good, long look at the artwork accompanying Combinator’s new EP, re//combinator. (Alternatively, you can complete this exercise by doing the same thing for the title of the collection). What exactly do you see there?

Could that be a snake in an overcoat, hoisting a guitar of some sort? Or is that an eagle, perhaps, clutching a scepter with a turntable set behind him? Might that supposed to be a lizard, mean mugging on stage with a viola, getting ready to get the party started?

The point is, there’s truly no telling what’s depicted in this artwork, or what the title of the EP might actually mean. This same motif holds true for the vast duration of the project, in which it’s highly uncertain what it is you’re hearing.

Some things, however, are familiar. There’s wicked bass playing on this collection, electric and, quite likely, some sort of slap bass. Plus, the live drumming is out of this stratosphere, and oftentimes is so quick it’s hard to distinguish the kicks from the snares from whatever other percussion Combinator’s got going.

But where he really breaks barriers is in his synths. His vocals, too. But for the former, they come over you, overtake you, are oftentimes panned, paired with both protracted and miniscule ones moving in so many different directions it’s a tad disorienting.

Just get a hold of “Things That Should”, a trippy, psychedelic affair (but not remotely related to the 60’s) that surely sets a speed record for its pace. Compare that to either “Hide and Seek” or “Cartoon Character”, in which Combinator’s vocals are an admixture of voices, different effects, and volumes, which seemingly pull you each way he happens to be going at the moment.

Then, just when you can’t find your way back out of the EP, get to that “Respira (Jesse Holt Chill Mix)”. Talk about night and day. There’s a big kick and snare in the time-honored DJ Quik drum pattern, a simple bass line, and a straight forward approach to the music that works, predominantly without vocals.

And then, just to show he can do whatever he pleases, check out the grand finale “Through The Fog”, which becomes the very embodiment of the blues with that superb bass, predictable chords, and refreshing sense of timing and song structure.

It all combines for one hell of a combination.

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