The Second or Third Attempt

Mastered by Guy at The Exchange by Max Tundra

The first time I listened to Mastered by Guy at The Exchange, it came across as a three year old's sugar high fit. And after the opening track "Merman", I really didn't have the patience to listen to something that would give me flashbacks of the worst three year old I'd ever babysat. But when I finally sat down and decided to listen through the album the whole way through, it was surprisingly pleasant.

Though the lyrics may not always make perfect sense -- "Lysine" essentially is nutrition instructions -- and are not exactly rich with meaning, the words themselves are surprisingly at ease with the music; the rhyming nonsense and cryptic references to more personal matters (girls, jobs, bands splitting up) are sung in a simple yet honest way, and work with the music to form textures of sound. Ben Jacobs even admits in "Labial", singing "I only sing about things that happen to me/I never learned to fill my songs with allegory".

The most enjoyable part of the album is the surprising palette of sounds that Jacobs employs; songs go places that their intros don't even hint at. Though it may be easy to stereotype Mastered by Guy at The Exchange as a purely electronic album, what with its overabundance of glitches, blips and clicks, Jacobs manages to genre-hop with the best of them. These songs are also deceptively time-warping; while some tracks may barely last a minute, others are on the upside of 7 minutes, but none ever betray the need to be longer or shorter than they already are.

Other favorite tracks on the album would be "MBGATE" and "Lights".

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