The Business End
Books on Tape: The Business End
It’s time for a shake-up in the Todd Drootin camp. No layoffs or replacements, just a write-up, a probationary period. A wide-eyed version of Kid 606 or Cex probably felt like a good idea three, four years ago, but continuing on with Drootin’s Books on Tape itinerary is not friendly enough. We must question whether the world needed an updating of circa-1980 instrumental Residents—interesting and “good” in retrospect, but so detached. Done once, done enough.
Throw in as many explosive beats, whistles, ding-a-lings, boat horns, and unidentifiable critter noises as you may, but if you don’t have the song, you don’t have the people’s attention. And Books on Tape’s new The Business End all too often lacks the song. “Ill Team Captain” is a dense, arresting standout, yes, but one Books on Tape track does not a worthy album make. With the ever-aging (and poorly) genre of IDM, laptronica, or whatever some goof coined it during the Clinton administration, the listener needs to remember what happened 30 seconds ago. Look down at the display and stare at disbelief that you’re already on track 8. A large part of The Business End just bounces by, little trick bag overflowing, sounding as if it’s doing a lot, but in actuality, doing nothing. The three-album trial run is up.