MSTRKRFT
Operator


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
July 22nd, 2016 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Filthy results.

When I saw Death From Above 1979 on The Physical World tour, it felt like I was watching two different versions of the band, spliced seamlessly on top of one another. For a couple guys who hadn’t played together in years to somehow retain that raw and infuriated trash compactor of a sound, while expanding and refining it with the polish and professionalism that a decade-plus in the industry can’t help but bring – it was impressive. More importantly, the show was a blast. Whatever The Physical World failed to deliver on record, DFA1979 brought it live, and then some: I walked out of that show with my ears ringing and high on a supply of RIFFZ. Then I walked across the street to see MSTRKRFT, who were set to take the stage at a club not thirty minutes after DFA1979 finished their encore.

Jesse Keeler’s side project with producer Al-P, like DFA1979, has never been subtle. Where DFA1979 bludgeons PBR-swilling twenty-somethings nostalgic for the mid-'00s with just bass, drums, and a caterwauling frontman, MSTRKRFT goes straight for the ecstasy-enlarged jugular with its own brand of hard, dumbly maximal electro beats. Seeing Keeler get on that stage with time to spare, hair still sweaty from the previous gig, only reinforced that MSTRKRFT is little more than a vehicle for Keeler to entertain his filthiest techno impulses, something he clearly loves to do. They’ve never shied away from this disposability, though. Their last record, 2009’s Fist of God, coasted on Ed Banger’s popularity with guest spots like John Legend and Ghostface Killah, nakedly aiming for that festival slot or next car commercial. There’s none of that to be found on Operator; frankly, no one was waiting for a new MSTRKRFT album anyways. It’s obvious, though, that MSTRKRFT isn’t trying to bring in new fans. The most noticeable guest vocalist here is Converge’s Jacob Bannon on the hyper-aggressive closer “Go On Without Me,” which sounds like what must be playing in Satan’s own rave. The song is an exaggeration of everything that comes before, Keeler obviously taking some perverse pleasure in seeing how far those “Heartbreaker” fans will let him go. By itself, it’s a horrendous, grating tune. In the context of the album, it’s the proper conclusion to a record that loves to play in the dirt.

Perhaps the collection that most takes after Keeler’s relentless fretwork in DFA1979, Operator focuses almost exclusively on analog sounds and a driving, distorted mix of techno and electro that wouldn’t have sounded out of place at a SebastiAn concert years ago. Some may call it dated, but given current EDM trends it’s much more a breath of fresh air. Opener “Wrong Glass Sir” is a minimal sneer, building up through thudding toms and dissonant synths that cut across the range on a steady rhythm – when the bass is brought back midway through the song, violent and buzzing, it’s an irrepressible statement: you’re not gonna find this shit in Vegas. Operator is more industrial than their bid for pop crossovers last decade, drenched in layers of distortion and rarely slowing to catch its amphetamine-fueled breath. There’s a touch of Boys Noize in the dizzying 8-bit nightmare of “Death In The Gulf Stream,” those ominous Justice synths backdropping Nation of Ulysees’ Ian Svenonius on the glitchy, defiantly anti-melody “Party Line,” and Bloody Beetroots’ virulent noise in the schizophrenic disco dystopia of “Little Red Hen.” The guest spots are indicative of MSTRKFT’s attitude here: Svenonius, Sonny Kay from Angel Hair on the DFA1979-aping earsplitter “Priceless,” the aforementioned Bannon, as abrasive as ever. Even when they aspire to a single – “Runaway,” with its melodic vocal hook, comes the closest – it sounds like a cry to battle, the low end roiling dangerously against those motorized synths, constantly shifting and shattering against themselves.

Operator is hardly easy listening, and its constant callbacks to a different era can be wearying by the end of a record that delights in bashing you upside the head with thoroughly anarchic beats. And when MSTRKRFT slow down, as they do as a sort of intermission on the shuffling, circular “Playing With Itself,” one has to ask: why" MSTRKRFT and Keeler have never been ones for half measures. Operator’s overall refusal to do just that, its inexorable 808 death march through a digital hell, makes it MSTRKRFT’s best album yet, not to mention an impressive approximation of DFA1979’s live show, in spirit if not in sound. PLUR this ain’t – if getting kicked in the teeth and rolling in the mud is your idea of a good time, MSTRKRFT have the soundtrack.




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user ratings (18)
Chart.
2.9
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


12087 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Little Red Hen" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk0FVBhLzZ4



a pleasant surprise for me, might not be a lot of people's cup of tea tho

Digging: Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 22nd 2016


42591 Comments


was wondering if i should check this or not this settles it

Digging: Cvd - Elsewhere Nowhere

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


12087 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

settles it that you shouldn't amirite

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 22nd 2016


42591 Comments


haha totes

bloc
July 22nd 2016


55075 Comments


Oh shit I gotta hear this. These guys are kinda trashy but they have some really fun songs.

Digging: The Chemical Brothers - No Geography

jmh886
July 22nd 2016


2314 Comments


these no vowel band names have got to stop.

bloc
July 22nd 2016


55075 Comments


If memory serves, I think these guys were like one of the first artists to do it

jmh886
July 22nd 2016


2314 Comments


so its their fault then huh

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


12087 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol

Sinternet
July 22nd 2016


19115 Comments


this band has some great songs and some awful songs

nice review, will check this out later

Digging: Marina - LOVE

TomAkaVeto
July 22nd 2016


1958 Comments


I can't believe they have Jacob Bannon on a song. That's so awesome. Did not expect those two worlds to collide.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 22nd 2016


3923 Comments


Woah didn't expect new mstrkrft. Classy trashy this.

rc239
July 22nd 2016


249 Comments


glad this exists

wtferrothorn
July 22nd 2016


5800 Comments


How do you pronounce that name? I can usually decipher these no vowel names, but this one stumps me.

wtferrothorn
July 22nd 2016


5800 Comments


nvm, looked it up. Never would've guessed Mastercraft

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 22nd 2016


42591 Comments


really?

wtferrothorn
July 22nd 2016


5800 Comments


yea, but it may be due to the fact I've been pretty tired. oh well.

Anyway, anyone know if I would dig this?

iloveyouall
July 22nd 2016


6319 Comments


it's actually mister kroft

osmark86
July 22nd 2016


8853 Comments


Never rly dug this contraption. Dfa was always their bedt schtick.

Digging: Skee Mask - Compro

GringoSuave89
July 23rd 2016


1128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dat closer. Basically Drumcorps. Love it. Jacob Bannon still has one insane voice.

Digging: Tripsitter - The Other Side of Sadness



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