Neat Beats
Cosmic Surgery


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
February 2nd, 2013 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Glitches, simple beats and inspirational samples combine to make one acid trip of an album.

I was assigned Neat Beat's debut album in Sputnik’s Random Review Game, yet it feels like more than coincidence. See, Cosmic Surgery is a heartwarming album that doesn't really understand how heartwarming it is. It's evidence enough to look at the artist's title, because any potential fans may shrug off the artist as a harvester of chill tunes. But what makes me so passionate about this release is that I hear the commitment Alvin Fenner's made to capturing the proverbial lightning in a bottle - every track strikes gold, simply through tacking memorable piano melodies onto retro hip-hop beats. It seems too straight-laced to be impactful, but this simplicity is what makes Cosmic Surgery infectious.

Fenner's debut works precisely because of its rough nature. All the tracks here are easy enough to appreciate, but some are more successful than others. The strongest moments here show Fenner at home, fusing easygoing hip-hop beats with infectious hooks. This may be achieved through an eclectic vocal sample, glitchy experimentation a la Baths, or cathartic percussion. Or maybe it’s all the above, the sheer ambition of an album that fuses all these elements into something unforgettable.

The only time Cosmic Surgery falters is when it doesn’t know what it wants to be. The release’s midsection pursues a silly videogame aesthetic in the form of “Kung Fu of the Astronaut Drunkards” and, (surprise surprise), “Videogame Characters.” The songs are about as entertaining as misguided experiments can be, but it’s needless to say that they stick out like a sore thumb between the other gems. Perhaps Fenner could work in the 8-bit synths and chiptune influences successfully on his next release, but here they serve as detractors instead of achievements. The mark of a truly successful album, though, is one whose blemishes are enjoyable out of context. In this regard, Cosmic Surgery is in the clear.

The best way for a musician to introduce himself seems to be to releasing something substantial enough to pique the interest of new fans. It’s safe to say Cosmic Surgery has accomplished this, and only from a simple Youtube search. Neat Beats has effectively established a loyal group of followers from behind the curtains, luring beatheads in with quality rather than marketing. I guess this confirms I wasn’t the only one that felt an instant connection with the stutters and stops, the rhythmic pulses found throughout Cosmic Surgery. The glitches are mechanistic, but also with a deep-seated vibrancy that implies we’ll be seeing them again soon enough.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I absolutely adore this album. Check it out here, dudes:

http://neatbeats.bandcamp.com/album/cosmic-surgery

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I knew you'd love it, Potsy! And they're there because they share similarities :O

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Maybe I picked the wrong album for FlyLo. Until the Quiet Comes may have been a better one to use.

I'm just glad you checked it out, man. What songs from this do you dig the most?

Schizophrenik
February 1st 2013


842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad you liked this. Hopefully some more people will check it out.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah Potsy, I'm sure you have a better grip on electronic music than I do. Would you like to shoot me some replacements for the recs? I was thinking DJ Shadow earlier.

and yeah Schizo, glad you added it to the game. I've shed a tear to a few of these songs, no joke. The bicycle song :') so beautiful

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
February 2nd 2013


6458 Comments


Good review Omaha!

Listening to this now. Sounding good so far.

Digging: Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

=] thanks man! let me know what you think overall, this album is amazing.

wearepack
February 3rd 2013


23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is fantastic - excellent to run to when night time kicks in

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 3rd 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lol. I need to electronic more, I suppose! The glitch elements make me think of Baths - can you at least see that one, for a few of the tracks here?

And I'm going to have to check out these artists. I love this album, so anything in this vein.

Yeah, man, this is perfect running music, especially for night.

FigNewtns
March 13th 2013


722 Comments


i actually stumbled upon this looking for stuff similar to baths

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Have you checked it out yet?

FigNewtns
March 14th 2013


722 Comments


it's been awhile and i don't think i've ever listened to it from start to finish. i kinda dig the video game tracks though, especially Kung Fu, but maybe that's because i figured this more of a collection of dope songs rather than a cohesive album.

but other than some of the glitch elements, this doesn't really remind me of Baths. the choppiness in Cerulean is more seamless than it is here.

and i'll be sure to look into Eskmo, been on a Baths binge recently



Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I gave this a 4? Pfsh, this is 4.7 material right here bitches

MrElmo
September 15th 2013


1955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bumping my rating, this is too good

chitownflip
October 17th 2013


173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Umm...this is pretty tight

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yep

Azn.
December 30th 2013


5612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rating bumped

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2013


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yep

TheBarber
February 6th 2014


1963 Comments


I'd love a cd version of this for the artwork (and to lend it), damn

Digging: Animal Collective - Centipede Hz

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2014


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Okay if this isn't a 5 I don't know what is



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