written by: December 10, 2013
Album-art-for-SUM-ONE-by-bEEdEEgEE Release Date: December 4, 2013


bEEdEEgEE is the moniker for the solo project by Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance. The debut album SUM/ONE is a kalidescopic blend of instrumentals, each piece shifting throughout the album.

SUM/ONE also features occasional vocals from the likes of Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and Lovefoxxx of CSS. The album is an interesting break for DeGraw compared to Gang Gang Dance’s constantly improvised music, but it isn’t entirely as successful as one might hope.

Each track is bizarre and made up of elements that seem like they shouldn’t work together, but somehow do. It’s as though DeGraw took what typically makes up a song and switched up the ingredients to make unexpected, but surprisingly pleasant music.

“Bricks” swirls around with a low-pitched, womping, dubstep-like bass drop, distorted pop vocals, staccato drums, chimes, and a string and possibly flute sample, and that is perhaps only a third of the identifiable sounds that create the somewhat danceable beat.

But even though each track on SUM/ONE is quite distinct, the similarities in structure quickly become repetitive.

SUM/ONE occupies a strange sonic space where Diplo, Animal Collective, Neon Indian, and DeGraw’s own Gang Gang Dance all collide—a sort of dumping ground for unwanted samples.

It is disappointing that DeGraw stays within what could be called his comfort zone, even if his comfort zone is another man’s experiment. In a way, SUM/ONE doesn’t sound like a solo project; it sounds like something Gang Gang Dance could have created.

“F.U.T.D. (Time of Waste)” features Alexis Taylor and is one of the stronger tracks on SUM/ONE. At times, the combination of sounds and ideas overwhelms the production, but in this case it’s just enough.

The album suffers from some poor execution—it seems as though DeGraw didn’t fully think through how his many ideas would come across to his audience.

It’s possible he simply doesn’t care about accessibility, but most of the tracks, while intriguing and multifaceted, overwhelm rather than resonate.

The transitions within tracks, as well as between tracks, could have been smoother at times, too. Indeed, there is intentional chaos and juxtaposition, but one can hear where the rough edges were less intentional: the track “(intellectual property),” a creepy little instrumental number, and the circus-like, digital clusterfuck “Helium Anchor.” And “Flowers” is enough of a straightforward, sunny pop song that it sounds out of place on SUM/ONE; it doesn’t sit right in the melee of other sounds.

SUM/ONE makes for interesting tunes, but isn’t very attention-grabbing. The very chaos that is supposed to make the music stand out simply makes it unclear and unimpressive. SUM/ONE is certainly interesting, especially because of each track’s composition, but DeGraw’s ideas aren’t fully translated; he should have pushed himself in a different direction and tried to avoid the clutter.

bEEdEEgEE – SUM/ONE tracklist:

  1.  “Helium Anchor”
  2. “Like Rain Man”
  3. “Empty Vases”
  4. “Overlook”
  5. “(F.U.T.D.) Time of Waste”
  6. “Bricks”
  7. “Flowers”
  8. “(intellectual property)”
  9. “Quantum Poet Riddim”