Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

"Feel Good"

The Internet – Feel Good
01 October 2013, 12:30 Written by James Killin

Like Medusa shown an image of herself, the internet has been defeated by The Internet. The world wide web is now only the second result retrieved from a Google search of those words; the first belongs to five kids from L.A, who took the name knowing that it would present a droll barrier to recognition. What began with two producers from the world’s most abrasive and exciting hip hop collective making experimental beats in their bedrooms has become a full live band outfit, capable of overthrowing the primary force of communication and commerce on the planet today. Try it. Google “the internet” (using Bing doesn’t count). See?

For a group whose origins lay in borrowed equipment and apartment floor recordings- take Love Song – 1, from debut LP Purple Naked Ladies, for example- Feel Good marks a spectacular but unsurprising progression to music designed for live performance. Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians, responsible for producing some of the very first Odd Future releases, have migrated from the kaleidoscopic trip-hop of that first offering to an album that is both more traditional in its composition and more ambitious in its intentions. Syd, Matt, and the rest of the band- Tay Walker on keys and vocals, Patrick Paige on bass, and Christopher Smith on drums- come through with a muscular and accomplished record that’s more Erykah Badu than Earl Sweatshirt.

Paige and Smith are The Internet’s greatest strengths, and when they come into full effect on album highlight ‘Partners In Crime Part Two,’ the result is a robust and infectious groove. ‘Dontcha,’ lifted by its Chad Hugo-produced Neptunes vibes, has a slick bassline that would have cutting the song short at three minutes and twenty-two seconds be deemed a federal offence. Here we scratch the surface of Feel Good‘s extensive family tree; while Syd’s markedly improved vocals flit between sultry and celestial, the song has the ghost of Roy Ayers’ ‘Don’t Stop The Feeling’ hanging about it. ‘You Don’t Even Know’ could, with the addition of a horn section, fit comfortably into Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society and no one would notice. ‘Sunset’ toys with a sun-splashed calypso flavour that does a good job of hiding the fact that part of it was written on a cold night in West Yorkshire.

Looking back, there’s perhaps more to be learned from The Jellyfish Mentality, Matt’s most recent outing as The Jet Age of Tomorrow, than there is from Purple Naked Ladies. The sub-aqeous soul of Jellyfish permeates much of Feel Good, and we ‘Matt’s Apartment’ borrows a ‘Pink Matter’-esque guitar to complement an elusive but powerfully persuasive vocal motion, like a tidal pulse.

Matt’s spectral synths wind themselves around ‘Pupil | The Patience,’ before the song turns on its heel, ballooning and twirling its way through something like Tangerine Dream-style 70′s krautrock. There is nothing derivative about any of this, and the record counterbalances its influences with a competence and confidence belying its players’ youthfulness; it sounds like something that could have been made forty years ago, or forty years in the future.

Feel Good is not about hype and bombast, and it won’t sock you with anything like the pugilistic loquaciousness and Stygian beats of Earl’s Doris. It’s a record that showcases professionalism and musicianship, a sonic rhizome of musical references and genealogies. Much of it sounds like a live record, and this is the intention: to push The Internet away from the colossus of Odd Future qua Tyler and Earl, and establish themselves as a respected and sought-after group of performance musicians. After all, what person with an internet connection needs to search “the internet,” anyway?

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