Black Square

by Jack Diablo

<Album: Black Square
Artist: DD/MM/YYYY
Label: Impose Records
Release Date: September 15, 2009 (cassette tape)
Remember cassette tapes? Of course you do. Chalk it up to nostalgia or perhaps even a sense of elitism, but for some reason these most inconvenient forms of media are making a comeback with both the tragically hip and the hardcore DIYer.
Canadian band DD/MM/YYYY (pronounced day month year) are releasing a limited edition version of their album Black Square, on the less than ubiquitous format later this month on their new label, Brooklyn-based Impose Records. Already released on iTunes in February and CD/LP in March, Black Square is a bizarre voyage through varying sonic landscapes.
DD/MM/YYYY’s music is as outlandish as their name suggests. A quick look at their former tour-mates (Dan Deacon, Crystal Castles, Japanther, etc.) provides a thorough overview of what you can expect to hear. From instrumental experimental jazz numbers like ‘Birdtown,’ to synth-driven juggernaut ‘Infinity Skull Cube’ with its echoing gang vocals, the album showcases the band’s versatility and skill in whatever they are trying to accomplish.
The opening track, ‘Bronzage,’ begins with a punch as the drums beat out a syncopated rhythm to a deceptively simple melody with vocals reminiscent of vintage Perry Farrell. From there the record transitions smoothly into ‘No Life,’ an indication of the attention to detail put into the track order. In this way, the album is well-suited for the Side A / Side B structure of cassette and vinyl. Side A is steeped in chaos with ‘They’ providing a brief respite right in the middle and ending with the aforementioned ‘Birdtown.’ Side B picks up with ‘Sirius,’ whose repeating keyboard riffs come off like a futuristic Man Man before devolving into the mechanical noise of ‘Lismer.’ By the time you reach ‘Real Eyes’ it becomes evident that there is nary a conventional eighth-note driven 4/4 drum sequence to be found. For as weird as Side A is, Side B steps it up a notch forcing you to hold out for the stand-out single ‘Digital Haircut.’ It’s a wild ride that doesn’t lose any steam from start to finish.