Miguel Depedro has an easy job. As Kid606 he's the enfant terrible of the electronic music world. With the release of his 2000 album Down With the Scene and a subsequent compilation of bootleg N.W.A. remixes on his own Tigerbeat6 label, he came spitting and cussing into a placid techno scene, combining vaguely race-baiting song titles such as "It'll Take Millions in Plastic Surgery to Make Me Black" with a predilection for Japanese hentai porn cover art to win a reputation as an outrageous upstart.
Some critics hailed him as a messiah destined to breathe new life into the earnest world of electronic music. Others accused him of casual racism in his satirical appropriation of African-American culture. The trick was that Depedro attracted all this attention to a mostly unlistenable album: Down With the Scene was sloppy, unsophisticated noise. It just had clever track names.
Sid Vicious achieved a similar effect by sporting swastikas; Eminem by rapping about psychedelic mushrooms and sex with underage girls. Sarcasm and cynicism make big splashes when your contemporaries sound too sincere or pretentious by comparison.
Depedro may not have much to offer beyond being obnoxious, but you can hear him having fun screwing things around. His latest album, Kill Sound Before Sound Kills You, is a hectic survey of techno and drum and bass rhythms buzzing with video-game energy. "Woofer Wrecker" is an old-school breakbeat built around what sounds like a sample of Professor X from early-Nineties hip-hop group X-Clan rapping "This is protected by the red, the black, and the green." On "Ecstasy Motherfucker" rave sirens squeak and girls rap double-time disses over heavy metal guitars. He churns out classic ragga jungle with MC Wayne Lonesome, melodic techno, and gentle laptop folk, too.
Outside of the rap samples and reggae-infused jungle, Depedro is messing with obscure subgenres that are still unrecognizable to most of America, so he doesn't need to go as far out on a limb as Vicious or Eminem in order to maintain his status as the scene's reigning iconoclast. In that he's most like Aphex Twin: switching from anarchic glitch to heavenly melodies without blinking and cultivating a reputation as a cultural antagonist when he's really just a guy having a laugh with his laptop. Without that context -- put him head to head with Geto Boys, GG Allin, or Slayer -- Depedro's supposedly challenging music quickly loses steam.
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