Subtropical Spin

Qwerty (Salt of the Earth Recording)

Kid Gavilán, the Sundance Kid, and now: Kid Kadian. Born out of defunct underground IDM consortium the Reverse Side in 2001, the 22-year-old Miamian blends computer savvy, a punk-rock upbringing, and his Jamaican heritage to generate a self-described "anti-pop" offshoot of techno. Like pugilist Gavilán's bolo punch and his namesake's narcotic analgesic (Kadian, the drug, is a morphine-based painkiller manufactured in the U.S. by Alpharma), the Kid operates with a soothing, "less is more" attitude, albeit on a purely digital platform.

Citing the Dead Kennedys, Crass, Ninja Tune, and Wu-Tang Clan as influences, Kadian renders trip-hop, acid jazz, abrasive drum 'n' bass, and Casio tones into danceable landscapes perfect for dark clubs and home enjoyment. Believing blindly in the Fruity Loops program, he stacks minimalist effects to create ethereal, two-minute threads of consciousness. "Lost in the Night" is a breathy, underwater zapper. "Meta-Analysis of Consumer Technology" -- ambitious title aside -- is a midtempo/mid-'90s European hip-hop number. "Drug Invasion" is a scattered, false-start-laden track that regains sentient control at the climax of its arpeggios. The title track opens shyly enough, holding back sounds before breaching with succeeding beat speeds and sampled baby ga-gas. While Kadian maintains shorter and simpler tracks than most of his peers, he's most successful in implementing a quirky subversion in all his songs. The effect is taken to even greater heights live, perhaps, where his show includes video projection of TV pop culture clips and homemade films, à la '60s hippie freak-outs. Like a good street pharmacist, Kadian knows knows how to change your mood -- up or down. Qwerty is just the right dosage.

 
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