I'm Not Crazy by power pop punkster Geoff Westen is a slice of hyper-real pop, straight from the heart of the Uncanny Valley.
The Uncanny Valley, if you don't know, "is a hypothesis in the field of aesthetics which holds that when features look and move almost, but not exactly, like natural beings," according to Wikipedia, which has been used to criticize creepy early CG movies like The Polar Express. The "valley" part of it is the dip in a viewer's comfort level when coming across something apparently lifelike, but not quite.
Not only have our electronics grown more sophisticated but we've become more acclimated and accustomed to the electronics around us as we can see from the nostalgic yearnings of Vaporwave and the plasticine corporate hacking of Oneohtrix Point Never's ecco jams. We are learning to find the heart in the machines, even to love them.
This is good news for musicians, making herky jerky post-punk synthpop, like you'll hear on Geoff Westen's I'm Not Crazy.
I'm Not Crazy is in the art/synth-pop/prog continuum from the likes of Thomas Dolby, Gary Numan and perhaps a bit of Adrian Belew-era King Crimson, as well as bearing some uncanny similarities to digital terrorists like The Residents.
Of course, all of this means the music is rigid, rather than fluid and funky. There's not one polyrhythm in sight; instead, sequenced synthesizers, like something heard at Disney's Electric Light Parade, paired with basic drum machine backbeats and Westen's psycho-sexual romantic lyrics. These eccentric stories are well-served by Westen's songwriting instincts - far more intricate and involved than your typical pop music, frequently crawling down chromatically, like sliding down the stairs on your face or featuring neon guitar solos in exotic modes.
The sound quality is a bit muffled giving I'm Not Crazy a slightly demo-ish feel, which just lets us know that Geoff Westen will have his stories heard, no matter what it takes. And while this might not sound like a good thing, at least Westen is being true to himself, rather than co-opting other cultures, to seem cool.
Westen reminds us that nerds need love, too, that programmers and academics can actually be cool, just by being ourselves.
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