I don't think even Xylen Roberts would even call his music accessible. It often brash, dissonant, chaotic and he doesn't exactly have a voice you would call aesthetically appealing. With that it's these qualities that make also his music original and in which comparisons are hard to reference. On his latest album Expanding Squares he unapologetically comes at you with all he has. Roberts fills every second with as much sound as possible leaving you with not much time to catch your breath.
The album starts with “Undercover Post Ironic” in which he combines a vertigo-inducing beat with distorted bass, more percussive elements and synths. Roberts speaks/raps/sings on this track with seemingly no regard to conform. He has a similar vocal style to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR. In fact Roberts adapts this style throughout the album.
The music on “Eyes Wide (An Antonym To Open)” get so dissonant at points it’s hard to bear. What starts sounding off as elevator music in dystopian future transforms into brash frequencies and tones.
“Luna Moths Emerge From The Milk Sea. The Trailer Vibrates with The Hum of Radiated Fireflies” buzzes with disparate instrumentation as Roberts sings in way in which he sounds as if he downed about twelve beers before he recorded. I have to admit the music is engaging even though it may cause you to periodically twitch. Probably not a track you want to put on if you are prone to freaking out.
“A Man Possessed (By Solaris Oceans Deep, Biatch!)” is not only is dissonant but also ominous. You won't be hearing this on popular radio anytime soon at least not in this dimension.
Roberts is a unique cat and the music he makes often sounds like the beginning of a DMT trip about to go horribly wrong. I give him points there. I'm gonna put this out there that he should consider getting another vocalist involved. Truth be told I appreciate his vocal style but it is just as brash as the music and by the ninth track it starts getting hard to endure. It would be interesting to hear an aesthetically pleasing female voice against the music. At the very least it would create an interesting dichotomy.
Overall Expanding Squares is uniquely Roberts own and not for the faint of heart.
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