In a world consumed with new technology, it seems to be a sin to reject every new advance, much less build an album based on it.
Local artist and Bradley student Jared Bartman’s latest EP, “I Refute Technology,” willingly embraces an old-time style with a sound that seems more akin to a phonograph console than an mp3.
As one of the most recognized local artists, Bartman performs at Bradley on a fairly regular basis.
“I Refute Technology” is mostly based on the title track. Bartman says that this was a coscious decision.
“It was like a study for myself to come up with different permutations for a song,” Bartman said.
The first version, subtitled “[Hypocrite Version,]” offers an ironic take on the name.
The song has an electronic feel, but seems to want to distance itself from this style. The whole track almost wants to expose the weaknesses of the electronic trend.
That’s not to say it’s bad. The song has the same sort of raw, electronic style that Thom Yorke of Radiohead embraced on his solo album, without coming off as pretentious or overproduced.
“I Refute Technology [Disembodied Voices]” is more blended. It has a sort of operatic angelic voice singing over a tight beat that seems to echo the sound of “[Hypocrite Version].”
There is a sense of minimalism present with a tinkling drum-beat covered in a layer of melodic voices. It is a fairly simple and straight-forward track. It lacks much of the electronic advances of the first song, but still contains much of the innovation. Still, the connection to “[Hypocrite Version]” is very strong, and the songs are without a doubt considered partners.
“Je Refute La Technologie” is the first to break the mold significantly. Although the song is simply “I Refute Technology” in French, it is the first song that, well, refutes technology.
The whole track has a sort of old time show business sound to do it, and it seems to borrow heavily from the music of Tom Waits. Its individuality is what makes the song stand out, and it is without a doubt the most memorable on the EP.
The album closes with “Phonograph Regime,” a perfect tie-in for the disc. The song blends bits of every one of the previous tracks, but never ends up sounding like an obvious mash-up.
One listen may not be enough to note how each track fits into the finale.
Once again, the sound has a dated feel, much like “Je Refute La Technologie,” as if the title of the EP is actually being embraced instead of being distanced from the music. In just under two minutes, the entirety of the disc is summarized masterfully, and it is a grand finale for a promising EP.
“I Refute Technology” is an extremely impressive EP that certainly offers a different take on the trends present today in pop and alternative music.
‘I Refute Technology” is certainly not going to be the only release that fans will hear in the near future.
Bartman will be touring throughout the summer and is working on a full-length album.
“I think it’s very different than ‘I Refute Technology’ but in a good way,” Bartman said.
Besides normal touring and support for the new album, Bartman has worked out a deal with the Activities Council of Bradley University to perform the full-length with 12 other bands to give it a more fully orchestrated sound sometime in September.