Escape Mechanism promotes recycling!
By Max Ross

It's four in the morning, and the party isn't quite ending, but it will soon. You're not quite sure how you got here - at some point during the night you were drunker than you thought you were, and an adventurous friend who probably shouldn't have been driving convinced you to ride shotgun to this warehouse-cum-loft. The music is still playing but it's quieter now, or maybe your ears have just finally built up their tolerance for it. That one attractive-in-a-goth-way drunk girl is dancing by herself, the last one left on the concrete floor. Still the speakers spew techno-ish music.

Meanwhile, you're in a conversation - or rather, you're listening to some guy who seems too old to be here, but who clearly doesn't realize this himself, what with his tight shiny shirt and blonde-tipped gray hair - as he talks about politics and metaphysics and the collage he's working on (comprised of pipe cleaners, acrylic paint, and his sense of whimsy). But it's all so ridiculous you're digging it. Yeah - you're jiving with this atmosphere, nodding your head and agreeing with things you don't understand.

Or maybe you're just listening to (Emphasis Added), the new compilation/composition from local loopers Escape Mechanism.

One half DJ mixtape, one half found object, (Emphasis Added) is a consistently engaging assemblage of noise. It's the kind of thing that I want to call a ‘concept album,' without having any real notion of what that ‘concept' is supposed to be. That's okay, though...they have a website that kind of explains it! (Re)Cycling through snippets of music, movie quotes, laugh tracks, and various ambient sounds, Escape Mechanism concocts melodies that are entirely foot-tap-able. Yeah - it's Girl Talk for intellectuals.

You can pay attention to it, or not. As a whole, the album retains a droning Steve Reich quality - each song builds but builds minimally - so it's easy to zone out and write a review of the album while you're actually listening to it. (The "Theme" interludes are especially conducive to this.) Otherwise, for the more diligent among us, one can listen intently and begin to glean a message.

Early in "Change" - the album's first piece - we hear the line, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll get more of what you've got." This can be taken as (Emphasis Added)'s anthem, as each song is comprised of looped samples that are repeated again and again. On a broader level, regarding the current election season, it seems this mantra might be a warning about becoming too comfortable with the status quo (the status quo being not so quo, anymore...faltering economy, etc. etc. This is a music review, I know). Given that the songs have titles like, "Change," "Next," "What's Happening," "Oh Well," and "The Truth," though, there does seem to be something at least vaguely political going on. While repetition is a defining aspect of the album, all the songs do morph, and some, in a sense, self-destruct. Hidden in the final track is the phrase, "What we really have to work on is changing it around," which seems an apt conclusion to the themes we've just been treated to.

But again, even if you're not totally into the whole deconstruction thing, (Emphasis Added) is still effective on a purely acoustic level. Considering how much unavoidable noise there is in our world - commercials, lawn mowers, ring tones, older sisters - and that it's precisely this sort of noise which constitutes Escape Mechanism's prima materia, it's nice that at least they package it in a way that makes it more appetizing to our aural palates.