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beefcake
003 + 024 + 2X = 727
hymen   2003
  see also
"polycontrale contra punkte"
"spontaneous human combustion"
"coincidentia oppositorum"
"in medias res"
"drei"
hymen website
official beefcake website

album rating: 3
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submitted by anton on 9-Apr-2003

beefcake has always been one of the most underappreciated acts in the idm-related scene. those that did know it have formed a devoted cult-like following, and one can argue about the relative merits of this limited popularity or what caused it in the first place.

back in 1997 beefcake's tapes were submitted to ant-zen label and received the most positive reponse, becoming one of the first releases on newly created hymen label. at the time autistic idm kids with blank stares were sitting in their bedrooms, tinkering with their broken idm toys; industrial heads with infinite sadness in their eyes were trying to shake off the heritage of ebm, running around and banging on piles of junk, suspiciously glancing in the direction of drum&bass and ambient.

beefcake appeared from nowhere, firmly rooted in industrial past (haujobb samples on debut cd prove that), but pulling together so many genres and influences that there music was clearly not suited for any wide acceptance back in the day.

the duo took all the different genres to create a unique, incredibly expressive style. the palette they used included everything from pop music samples and heartfelt classical instruments to overwhelming barrage of broken beats and distortion, but essentially what it comes down to is emotional and stylistical richness. over the years I have come to recognize and enjoy everything from classical serialism and minimalism to extremities of drill&bass and breakcore, from rhythmic noise to dark ambience. beefcake took it all in and created uneasy, contrasted yet harmonious world.

as with a large painting, one has to see the work in its entirety, which is only possible in longer, uninterrupted music pieces, similar to latest full-length drei. throughout this album you go through the whole specter of emotions, from intentionally soulless breakbeat workouts, to disconnected pop samples and epic orchestrated pieces.

all the pieces on drei are connected, taking individual tracks out of the context, away from the whole album, destroys a lot of their original appeal. the same argument applies to those that attempt to focus too close on technicalities, destroying the atmosphere beefcake creates, overlooking it in favor of miniscule details that say nothing about the music as a whole.

the two tracks present on the re-issue cd are too short to convey any significant changes in their style. if nothing else, they are a bit more somber and moody, relaxing their autistic grip on meticulous texture in favor of more contrasted cinematic feel with heavy breaks.

as for the tracks off two vinyl releases present on this cd, I am glad to see them reissued, although my collector's nature might be somewhat saddened by the fact that two of these vinyl are not as exclusive anymore. I welcome this release, since not only people need to hear beefcake for the purposes of general education and taste development, not only they will finally be able to appreciate it now that the level of electronic music culture has significantly improved, but also it will hopefully set a precedent that will stop parasites discrediting collecting culture that buy out limited releases and then sit on them for years, waiting for the hype (or creating it themselves) to auction them off.

where would beefcake go from here? for the longest time I kept thinking that they have said everything possible, reached the top, and now it's time to find another expressive means to avoid repeating themselves. returning to drei, I think that possibilities are limitless, since the duo possesses the capability to capture and transform so many facets of reality - I would love to see more orchestrated pieces, those quieter simpler overwhelmingly poignant parts, nostalgic snippets of pop music taken from the past with their grainy, quickly deteriorating feel, or perhaps even something similar to gabor's solo electro efforts. I believe in their talent to create the ultimate vision that is unmistakably beefcake - dark, intense, emotional, intimate, and epic at the same time.


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