cx kidtronik’s ‘krak attack 2: ballad of elli skiff’ is noisy, overwhelming, and kind of genius. #soundcheck

May 31, 2013

I was laid up in a hospital bed hooked up to a morphine drip the first time I ever heard Death Grips. Though Exmilitary has maintained a regular position on my playlist, it’s taken a year and a half for someone to match that feeling of exhilaration, confusion, and total sensory overload. Brooklyn’s own CX KiDTRONiK’s latest Krak Attack 2: Ballad of Elli Skiff is the closest I’ve felt to that experience of listening to Death Grips on morphine. But, with less socio-political criticism and more songs about ass crack.

Crack looms large on this record. (ha! Get it? Sorry. I’ll show myself out…). Both the drug and the ass kind. Mostly the ass. This is by a wide margin the best concept album about ass cracks that you’re likely to hear this year. “Krak Attack War Zone” and “Shatterproof” stand out as masterpieces of alienation. More traditional tracks like “The Buddykrak” and “Menace to Society” act as a break from the deafening noise. Islands of coherence in a sea of insanity. The Atari Teenage Riot song “Let’s Go Krazy,” sounds like an Atari Teenage Riot song. No surprise, CX has been a regular member of the band since 2010. The Ballad of Elli Skiff, meanwhile pairs CX with members of the legendary bands 24-7 Spyz and Fishbone for the good kind of thundering rap-metal.

A jumble of cut-up movie quotes, synths, and beats (even the venerable Funky Drummer makes a brief appearance), Krak Attak 2 sounds half-way between Death Grips’ giddy nihilism and the Bomb Squad’s hyper-sampled sound collages. It’s never pretty.

And the moments when the tracks coalesce into something resembling a song? Those only make the noise sound noisier. CX KiDTRONiK isn’t just using the history of recorded sound as a sonic palette. He’s gathering the history of recorded sound up into a woodpile and setting the damn thing on fire.

– Words by Nathan Leigh