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Noisy Neighbors

Immigrants, ‘Black Dada’

Mr. iD’s production is the opposite of Kanye West’s immaculate arrangements.

Mr. iD’s production is the opposite of Kanye West’s immaculate arrangements.


Black Dada

This summer, Kanye West’s “Yeezus” album won acclaim for turning its back on the glossy studio sound in favor of sparse, harsher rhythms; that is to say, with Rick Rubin’s assistance. Somerville’s Immigrants don’t have the luxury of using a million dollar studio to produce the gritty, lo-fi dissonance of their new record, “Black Dada,” and that’s a big reason why it packs a more visceral, twisted high than Kanye’s disc. Mr. iD’s production is the opposite of West’s immaculate arrangements: Here, a crashing dial-up modem can become a menacing backdrop (“Mola Ram”) and a lone bass synth heartbeat courses through surreal detours into time and space (“Patterns”). The album’s jarring-by-design production, low on catchy hooks and with mistakes left in, combined with Theory Engine’s intricately detailed rhyme style, requires some patience, but the rewards are worthwhile. True to the album's title, it produces several moments of brilliant self-aware absurdity: see “Montezuma,” where Engine snaps “showed up in Paris lined up by a pair of dimes/ European heiress kind, ended with the barest hind quarters, colonial daughters of imperialist swine/ their grandfathers ordered the slaughter of various of mine.” It’s plenty weird, in the best of ways.

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Essential “Montezuma”

Martín Caballero can be reached at
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