FOG - The Fog

Dose One’s experience of the British scene has been quite fruitful up to now. It enabled him to follow new tracks, to make interesting collaborations, and, probably more discreetly, it enabled Fog (aka Andrew Broder) to be heard. The latter could have remained locked away forever in his native state of Minnesota, with his connection to an obscure post-rock band (Lateduster) as his only feat. But after being introduced to the adequate British circle of artists by his Anticon rapper and friend, Fog is now signed to Ninja Tune, the only record company which gave him the opportunity to release on a large scale his first eponymous record, a particularly wild, crazy and inspired debut.

FOG - The Fog

Ninja Tune / PIAS :: 2002 :: buy this record

We need to state it clearly : Fog’s first album is not a rap record. The most fundamentalist B-boys (as well as the others) will quickly notice it, at their expense, when they will hear the good ol’acoustic guitar on half of the tracks, or when the will look for the emcee. Only MF Doom honours the album with a monologue on the very first track. However we keep hearing Hip-hop throughout this album, in the form of scratches, samples as well as dirty and jerky beats, and this propensity to recycle each sound, so that Andrew Broder allows himself to try every register, like a new type of Beck, but more spontaneous and less machiavellian than him.

So Fog tries everything, each and every thing. The marvellous mini-banger Pneumonia, a close encounter of the virtual type between folk rocker Neil Young and outer space turntablist Kid Koala, had already demonstrated us Broder’s capacity to absorb sounds and styles.The album comes as a confirmation, as we can find other possible influences, from independent pop to alternative rock and cynical rap : the Anticon mates on Smell of failure, the Sonic Youth guitar arpeggio on Fool, one upside-down, whirled over DJ Shadow on Truth & Laughing Gas, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke making exaggerated vocal exercise on the powerful Ghoul Expert.

The rest of the album, which is even harder to classify, is mainly composed of instrumental delirium, of the most unlikely type : Check Fraud has even more guitar & scratching & other odd noises, Hitting a Wall could sound like a rock OST if it wasn’t for the cried and stretched chants by Broder, Glory is a kind of synthetic ode to Vangelis, less pompous as it is completely distorted. What is worst is that once you have been surprises and circumspect, you start liking it.

Pieces are following each other, coming one after one another, one crashing into the other, so that sometimes you think it is inspiration, sometimes you think it’s a college freshman’s fantasy. As you are listening to the album, you come to the conclusion that Dose One’s meeting Andrew Broder was no chance. What we have here is truly a sickly and shy artist, who can only come to terms with his sincere innocence with multiple noises and yewshleedewls. These yewshleedewls are necessary, as they give unity to the tune, homogenize and reorganize this messy and unwindy album.

If you’re desperately seeking Anticon-like sound more influenced by rock than by hip-hop, this is the record you need, and a good one. (oh, and if you’re wondering about what a yewshlewdewl sounds like, the only way to know is listening to the album.)

Translated by Gnusball

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