There must be times when everyone just wants to give up and say, “That’s it, I’m going to listen to no more music for the rest of my life, and if need be I will cut off my ears with a rusty razor blade and throw them away like trash”. For me, the first time was halfway through Math And Other Word Problems, the latest full-length from Seattle-based ‘artist’ Marshall Watson.
A bit harsh you might say, but attempt to get through this album and try to work up the enthusiasm to write something, anything, on something so bland and effortless. Watson apparently mixes strands of techno, dub, house and shoegaze, but I for one cannot find anything related to any of these genres. What _Math… _holds is essentially the muzak that can be found plodding quietly in your local supermarket with a few Fruityloops-created beats over the top. If you have Sky TV, switch to the main screen and listen to the music that begins to play. At the top of his game, Marshall Watson can almost reach its quality.
Maybe he listened to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works once, missed out on the subtlety, the tunes, the atmosphere, and thought to himself,_ “I could do something roughly 32.4 times worse than that.”_ Or, somehow, it could be that he takes himself seriously and thinks that this is a work of art, but even in a world where misguided and highly prententious lonely souls view a sink on a wall or a stack of washing-up powder boxes as masterpieces, there is no way that something so throwaway, so completely unnecessary, could be regarded as a work of merit.
Maybe it’s not time to cut your ears off yet, but keep the blade ready: unless Watson does the honourable thing and downs a litre of cyanide, or at least destroys his computer and makes a vow with good to never use his (pro)tools again, we may have another of his albums spluttering onto our shores like a fish without fins in eighteen months.
1Jordan Dowling's Score