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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Simon Magus - I Traded Virginity for Vice [Outer Realms - 2014]

Many times I have used this space to praise the internet for allowing us to bask in the pure, loving glow of an underheard classic or for bringing new bands to our attention through blogs and streaming websites. There is a flip side to this coin, though, that anyone with access to a computer can upload their creation to the web. For the most part, I think this is fantastic. However, there are times when product seems to be made just to put product out. Quantity (even if it's one) overtakes quality, and the genre gets watered down. A prime example of this is Simon Magus' I Traded Virginity for Vice.

Not as magic as the project's namesake, Simon Magus' newest (First? Only?) is an exercise in tedium and amateur song construction. Uninteresting loops pulse and crackle thinly while one waits for something more to come into play. Once in a while, that happens, but generally, the songs stay thin and uninspired. The underlying, video gamey synths feel like they were randomly composed and accepted on the first take. The vocals sloppily mimic the PE style and sound more comical than their intent. Loops haphazardly collide with one another in mishandled segues between the different song sections, and this only helps to obscure the song's already tenuous flow. Having been a noise hobbyist for the past 14 years, I can hear similar elements to my own in this recording. I've been there, liked what I did, and called it finished. With no one there to say, "Meh," sub-par, unfinished material is allowed to move on to the final stage. Time has given me clarity on my older tracks, and I see them as stepping stones towards the sound I have today, which, although I was far off, was the sound I wanted back then. There are elements to this record, though, that show promise. Maybe Simon Magus will grow and learn from their output, too.

 Criticism isn't always a bad thing. If one can use the criticism to grow and work on their craft, they're going to be ok. Whether or not they get to where they're going is another thing, but heading in the right direction is a very important lesson to learn. I think Simon Magus needs to re-evaluate their output and spend more time making coherent recordings.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Paul Casey
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