Sd Laika
That's Harakiri


3.5
great

Review

by Finn Baker USER (43 Reviews)
March 4th, 2018 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The flash of light in the corner of your eye.

The word that most accurately encapsulates everything about That's Harakiri, which is to date the only full album from Wisconsin-based producer Sd Laika, is 'mysterious'. The name of the artist does not hint at where they're from, which means the listener has to find out for themselves. That admittedly unsettling cover art does not give away any details. Lyrics are not available in any track, so there is a less of a chance to provide even a fragment of context behind the songs. The producer behind all the music hasn't even done any interviews, making the entire album an intriguing blank slate. Anyone who takes 31 minutes out of their lives to listen to it is encouraged to place their own meaning on the songs--there is no concept to gather from any of it. Left with a complete lack of information regarding background or meaning, That's Harakiri becomes all the more exciting, permitting such a wide space for individual interpretation.

One of the few resemblances between many of the songs on the album is where the samples seem to come from. Everything spawns from the industrial nature of an urban city. It's easy to envision the idea that a microphone was set up on a bustling sidewalk and the sounds it captured are employed in every minute. This means that Peace works well as an opener, since the very first sound you hear is an incredibly booming rendition of that urban static. Subtle cracks in the droning frequencies increase in intensity until they lead into a synth-driven hellscape that can barely keep itself within the confines of audio. This objective of being loud and in your face is maintained throughout the entire album. Meshes contains a few sections where the only sounds present are loud white noise and a booming kick drum. Remote Heaven is nearly unsettling as the beat forms overtime out of coughing sounds and robotic bass thuds.

The entire album feels grounded in the 'wonky' sound, although if you want a descriptor that sounds a bit more serious, try out 'post-industrial'. However, I doubt Sd Laika would even be able to assign a definitive genre to this entire work. That is absolutely acceptable, but it does appear to take away some cohesion from That's Harakiri. While there is still a general feeling of maximalist, un-quantized rhythms and amplified subtlety, it simply does not feel like enough. 11 songs barely need to stretch themselves in order to cover these 31 minutes. Some of the slightly longer ones, such as You Were Wrong, feel needlessly flaunted. Meanwhile, Peaked has the makings of a very complex idea, an introduction to something strong. That feeling is never gratified, though. The song ends at 1:15, becoming an preamble to something that was abandoned.

If anything brings down That's Harakiri it is that lack of cohesion. Some great ideas do not feel fully realized, and some pretty good ideas overstay their welcome. The Bandcamp page for Sd Laika contains some explanation by the label that reached out to him, Tri Angle Records. They claim that these songs had been produced two or three years prior to the release date, and Laika told himself the songs "would never see the light of the day." Therefore, this project feels like a short compilation. Of course, many compilations sound exquisite. But a good chunk of this one leaves you wanting more. After four years, we haven't even come close to Sd Laika pushing his music further outside the boundaries of experimental hip hop. What we have is great, but what we don't have makes it almost annoying.



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user ratings (35)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


12883 Comments


A lot of the sentences follow a very set structure, making the review read very robotic and repetitive to me. It helps to differentiate so that the flow isn't so rigid. Otherwise, it admittedly feels like a dull experience to view.

Lavair
March 5th 2018


949 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I see what you mean, and I'll take that into consideration.

MotokoKusanagi
March 5th 2018


4035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lost it when Aphex dropped Great God Pan at Day for Night. setlist was nuts

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2018


1106 Comments


good review, good album

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 5th 2018


12883 Comments


If any changes have been made, no offense, I don't notice significant alterations. The structure still feels rigid to me.

Lavair
March 5th 2018


949 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I noticed that a lot of the sentences begin with "the" or "this". That's why it sounded rigid to me, once you pointed it out. Any ideas?

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2018


12883 Comments


What I pointed out moreso dealt with the set pattern of every sentence. I'll explain more in-depth. Take this excerpt for example:

"The producer behind all the music hasn't even done any interviews. This makes the entire album an intriguing blank slate. Anyone who takes 31 minutes out of their lives to listen to it is encouraged to place their own meaning on the songs. There is no concept to gather from any of it. A complete lack of information regarding background or meaning makes That's Harakiri that much more exciting."

The end product provides sufficient information for the reader, but it is done so in a way that feels monotonous. Speaking through it aloud will help--you can better understand how each statement is very linear in its length and general presentation. The flow seems to get stuck in a rut of sorts. It helps to differentiate. For instance:

*The producer behind all the music hasn't even done any interviews, making the entire album an intriguing blank slate. Anyone who takes 31 minutes out of their lives to listen to it is encouraged to place their own meaning on the songs--there is no concept to gather from any of it. Left with a complete lack of information regarding background or meaning, That's Harakiri becomes all the more exciting, permitting such a wide space for individual interpretation.*

Now, that's not the best, but hopefully you get my point: mixing things up generally makes for a more captivating read.


Lavair
April 6th 2018


949 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dang, the lone neg on this review dropped my approval rating 4%.

Lavair
April 8th 2018


949 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the pos, somebody.

owen
May 7th 2018


5146 Comments


whatever happened to this guy?

GhandhiLion
August 28th 2018


13988 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Some Throbbing Gristle here

Digging: Resina - Resina

MotokoKusanagi
August 28th 2018


4035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbbkWtIBUqo

Tyler.
September 18th 2018


18441 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bump

MotokoKusanagi
September 19th 2018


4035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hey

MotokoKusanagi
November 9th 2020


4035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i always forget about this



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