We reviewed v7v7v7’s The House Next Door.
The definition of music today is less concrete than ever before. Shoegaze, cloud rap, trip hop, dark ambient, simpsonswave – these are all words I’ve been told aren’t Allied codenames for the Normandy beaches on D-Day but genres of music. Rather than learn the intricacies of each genre, I’ve become overwhelmed and panicked. There are so many genres that I worry about mislabeling something as reggae when it’s actually junkanoo. When it comes to instrumentals I usually just think about whether I like a song or not, and what feelings did the song induce? Sounds are much more innocent than lyrics and it’s easier to approve of a noise than to approve of a person, unless you’re dealing with a noisy person.
v7v7v7 is an artist with an active SoundCloud and an even more active mind. I don’t know how to describe his music aside from “electronic,” but his experimentation with audio is ridiculously masterful, especially for a youngster on SoundCloud. He’s more than capable of producing heavy beats, light and popping rhythms, and even unassuming ambience. His latest album “The House Next Door” is a great time and impressively crafted. You probably haven’t heard of v7v7v7, so thank God I got here when I did. Actually I think I’ll take credit for this one. Thank me, you’re welcome.
The first sounds of the album are a stuttering build up into a transporting and relaxing blend of wavy and reverberating guitar-like sounds. The sound is aquatic and deep; the arrangement of noises just loud enough to be focused on feel random but with a higher purpose. The sudden bass hit halfway into “EEn2ro” is disruptive, but it’s a harbinger of the invasive drums that drop about 20 seconds later. What a fool I was to not see these coming! But I was given a warning. These heavy drums are bittersweet, for the heat they create is definitely rocking, but it interrupted a very calming atmosphere. It’s as if I was in the womb again and these drums yanked me out and spanked my booty to see if I have a future in singing. Sure the womb is nice, but so is life even with its unpleasantries. We need to move on with our lives and get to the rest of the album, at gunpoint if necessary.
It’s as if I was in the womb again and these drums yanked me out and spanked my booty to see if I have a future in singing.
He constantly adds or subtracts to the beat he is going through to keep the listener participating. But his work is so much more than just dynamic. The melodies in this album are capable of maintaining themselves while the artist messes with the timbre almost non-stop, all while keeping a balance. It’s like he’s cooking dinner AND cleaning the kitchen while beating you at Jenga. “Black Elastic Entities” tricks you into waiting for the “drop,” but the goods are happening right in front of you the entire time. The hyperactive sugar rush that is “Light Eaters” is delightfully playful or playfully delightful depending on your interpretation. I couldn’t help but smile as the pitch turned up and the song became increasingly vibrant. How did I get here? It’s not often you hear this kind of development within one song, so I wasn’t anticipating this type of show.
The only aspect of this album that stays the same is that everything is constantly changing. The sounds are fascinatingly organic and it’s so surprising that an electronic artist is creating something so alive. With too many albums it seems as if each song is one steady beat, so a typical album will be like 12-20 beats you can dance to. That’s cool, good job on the catchy beat, but “The House Next Door” is throwing a party that doesn’t get boring after 30 seconds. The album’s eponymous track is perfect for dancing, just ask my sprained knee. It’s also a boogie, quite possibly even a banger. “Eponymous” is a word that pretty much refers to the title of something. For example, the eponymous character of “Tom Sawyer” would be Tom Sawyer. This is unimportant, but it’s wise to use big words so you can trick people into thinking you’re smart. It works for me!
The entire album is mandatory listening, but if someone asked me to provide evidence before the ears of the Lord that v7v7v7 is a singular composer, it would be “Selective Memory” and “Nightmare Scenario.” I have never encountered songs so immersive and laced with genius on every note. The best way to describe “Selective Memory” is to imagine Mozart composing the Crash Bandicoot score. Whether it is genius or simply hard work and passion, every song on this album is adventurous and transcending. Even “DJ Dicksweat’s Sweet Revenge” was engaging enough to make me glad for DJ Dicksweat that his dastardly scheme worked out, and I don’t even know that fool.
The album experiences a drop off in tone as the next several songs are less optimistic in their attitude. “Importance” starts out slow but is eventually befitting of club music. Mysteriously, it doesn’t seem as upbeat as it could be. Even after the beat climaxes halfway through, the twanging chords make me feel as if there’s something important I should be doing instead of partying quietly to myself. “Amputee” is frantic and slightly melancholic. It’s probably the most chaotic song on the album. It’s like “Requiem For a Dream” with all those cuts. Luckily, Jared Leto did not show up here, nor did he appear in “Unlimited: Voids.” Although he probably would if we asked him. This track includes vocals, and sounds like a message someone would leave on a corrupted answering machine. Finally, “JC Quarters” wraps up the album making fine use of the classic sounds of applause and adoration from a crowd. I agree, this is worth an encore.
v7v7v7 excels at the cosmic and bubbly vibes. He’s achieved the nearly impossible balance of making music that fulfills you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Many of these songs are fun and danceable despite the constant progression of sounds. The design of all these songs requires an intelligent and creative brain. Most importantly for me, the feelings that v7v7v7’s music evokes are something to look forward to. The imagery conveyed by his music is different from any other artist I’ve listened to and I look forward to what sort of thoughts my brain is feeling with each measure. “The House Next Door” might as well be called “Boss Baby” because it’s already a masterpiece despite it’s infancy (unlike the film “Boss Baby,” which will no doubt become a cult classic at Alec Baldwin’s funeral). I encourage/demand you check out v7v7v7’s SoundCloud if you dig this album because you will definitely love his other work. “Terrance” and “Uzeless” are some of Bobby’s Most Wanted (I’m Bobby. Hello.), but you’ll find it impossible to declare a favorite.