Neat Beats: Cosmic Surgery


Cosmic Surgery was painstakingly assembled out of an array of chopped-up beats and samples, the product of untold lonely hours spent behind a laptop, mixer and turntable. But all that work has paid off: Alvin Fenner’s debut full-length is technically sophisticated, emotionally complex and purely enjoyable.

Fenner knows how to dice a sample right—in album highlight “Turning on the Large Hadron Collider,” he reverses, chops and loops a recording of Erik Satie being played on guitar, producing a sublime glimmering effect. But he also gets results when he isn’t editing sounds to oblivion, as when he drops a recording of a father teaching his daughter how to ride a bike in closer “I Hope I Think of Bike Riding When I’m Dying.” As the man says, “Good job, sweetheart!” over a swell of reflective piano and chaotic free-jazz drumming, you can practically see your life flash before your eyes.

Fenner might take cues from iconoclasts like Flying Lotus, but he’s not being experimental for experimentalism’s sake. A lot of heart clearly went into Cosmic Surgery and it’s all the more poignant for it.

Clear out an hour, sit back with a vice of your choosing, and zone out to this beat-tape.

cover art by Dylan Clausen and label art by J. Fenner. Head over to the Bandcamp to grab this.


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