Despite being movers and shakers in the Bay Area’s art-rock and improv noise scenes, Kid 606 and his Tigerbeat 6 cohort Eats Tapes won’t find favor with everyone. Technically challenging, formidably abstract, and often atonal, Sticky Buttons falls into what one local wag would call “avant blargh”: a noisy mélange of Roland synths, rubberband beats, and crunchy drum machines. On his more danceable songs, Eats Tapes combines clankety percussion and fast-paced drum ‘n’ bass effects strong enough for most arthouse DJs, but PH- balanced for people on designer drugs.
Kid 606’s more groove-driven Resilience is much better for amateurs, as he tempers all the weird bleeps and blips with sounds that appeal to mainstream hip-hop or house heads: handclaps, conga beats, vocal emulators, Spanish guitar samples, reggae loops, and the crackle of vinyl. In fact, no matter how wary you are of so-called (and dubiously so) “intelligent dance music,” you’ll likely fall in love with the more subtle, unexpectedly beautiful tunes (like the gypsy-oriented “Spanish Song” and delicately percussive “I Miss You”), which actually deserve adjectives like “textured” and “melodic.” Apparently there are pockets of sweetness in the sordid world of experimental music. It just takes a while to find them.