Features / Review

heRobust – Albumin

Herobust - Albumin

Albumin is the 2011 full length debut of Atlanta electro producer heRobust alias: Hayden Kramer. In forty five minutes of track time lush synth patches and red-lining, gooey beats take you through a stunning range of jams that are both completely unorthodox and wholly addictive.

And there all certainty ends.

heRobust’s self-labeled genre is “wonky” meaning shaky, groggy or not trustworthy. True enough. Within the maze of punning, paradoxical song names like “Triceratopless” and “Chewy Bakka” is a strange and beautiful musical landscape that plays like a trip through the looking glass in 320 kbit/s.

The music itself straddles a line between pure electro innovation and hip-hop influenced rhythms. Listening to the eschew instrumental beats is the sonic equivilant of watching ocean chop break against a sea wall and go back out in a tangled mess. Heavy, foamy bits of rhythm and melody meet in dissonant peaks and troughs. Almost never in unison, but interacting in a dance of musical chaos, the songs in Albumin are a hypnotic wash.

Rhythmic lines brush up against each other in a syncopated jumble that sounds like the way a drunk walks. Cutoffs blur and different instrumental decays bleed and swirl around each other. At times it is almost impossible to differentiate which rhythm you’re supposed to be listening to. You just get to admire the patterns and go along for the ride.

Mirroring the chaotic and colorful cacophony of heavy sound is the producer himself. We’re still unclear as to whether the artist name is supposed to be He Robust or hero bust. Not that it matters because Kramer makes good on both possibilities. The collection of instrumentals and the lone mc’d track “Shawty Swing My Way” are certainly robust. On the flipside Kramer made a name for himself “busting” aka wonkafying tracks by other electro gems like Samurai Sword and Fish Touch.

Here’s the true beauty of the thing: heRobust exudes a sort of anti-meaning. The music means everything and nothing. The tracks are filled with a jumbling, disconcerting blend of too much instrumentation that you, the listener, get to assign value to. You get to decide which rhythms and melodies are true and which are just noise. Its not up to me, its not up to Kramer, its up to you to determine what’s enjoyable and what’s interference.

This intuitive sonic arbitration between good and ugly is dynamic and electric. There isn’t a moment on the album that doesn’t make you want to move. Its fluid and bewildering like an anime kitten explosion. Albumin doesn’t come off forced and linear like a bad soap opera or an unwanted concept album.

Best of all, this shit’s free. The entire album is available for download at heRobust’s site for name your own price. You can always stream it for free as much as you want, but the cool (and completely foreign) thing about Albumin is that it’s the kind of free you want to pay for.