Bump the music of Lockbox from your tape deck and dive into the mind of Jesse Briata. Prince Soul Grenade, his fourth cassette release under the moniker, finds the 19-year-old producer pushing his hyper-kinetic beats into maniacal glee and rhythmic complexity deeper than we’ve ever heard from him on record. Briata liquifies common tropes of pop, hip-hop, and techno into high-fructose breakbeat confections, and crams the jams with effects manipulation and electronic noise as mind-warping as an avant-garde basement freakout. Armed with a skewed sense of melody (scope the ecstatic fanfares of album opener “Human Makeout”) and a fracturing approach to song structure (dig the screeching noise climax sandwiched between music box synth passages on “Biomech Lullabi”), Briata deconstructs contemporary beat music into a heap of junk parts and builds it back into a towering Voltron mechawarrior modeled after his own image.
Briata developed his union of popular and underground sensibilities in Denver’s vibrant DIY scene, spearheaded by the venue Rhinoceropolis, where he currently lives. But the “real world” informs only one chunk of Lockbox’s musical DNA. Like any member of his generation, he curated omnivorous tastes and traced a path of self-education through the infinite cultural repositories of the internet. Prince Soul Grenade’s bewildering melange of pop signifiers and frenetic rhythms evokes an alternate reality in which Richard D. James or the men of Mouse On Mars came of age in the late 00s: gorging on video game and anime soundtracks, rap mixtapes, and Skaters CDrs alongside their jungle singles and acid house compilations. Briata distills these and untold other influences into 42 minutes of ballistic beat shrapnel more than capable of sending us pathetic olds reeling into a state of stimulus overload. “Brainhead” smears drum ‘n’ bass patterns across an intensifying web of synth bleeps and surging low-end. “Haha Boost” leads the listener through a series of chromatic build-ups and drops, each more bonkers than the last. Both the beats and vocal passages of “Pridenjoy” stutter and trip over themselves on the way to a droned-out coda. Each of Prince Soul Grenade’s seventeen tracks showcases a mind experimenting with samples, rhythms, and melodies at a remarkable level of sonic detail; taken as a whole, the album sketches a complex portrait of Jesse B and the art that has shaped the first two decades of his life.
Available now on limited edition cassette and CD in the HausMo E-Shoppe.