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Model Home
both feet en th infinite Dustin Krcatovich , November 15th, 2021 15:28

A new album by the Washington DC-based noise/hip hop crew crisps up the sonics, but keeps a tight grip on the weird

For the last few years, Washington DC duo (and now, sometimes trio) Model Home have approached their admixture of hip hop and abstract noise in a fashion markedly different from their established peers. The likes of clipping. wield furnace-room blast and screech in a disciplined, premeditated fashion, in line with Trent Reznor and other studio perfectionists. Model Home's freewheeling approach, meanwhile, feels much more in the spirit of addled basement-lurker gunk historically spewed forth from the Wolf Eyes/American Tapes family, Chocolate Monk, or the Sunburned Hand of the Man foment. In other words, they bring hip hop earmarks to underground noise more than the opposite. Like the aforementioned, they are also obsessively prolific, with professional fidelity often taking a back seat to feverish inspiration.

On both feet en th infinite, Model Home refine their approach, but (to borrow a phrase I would have written myself, had I not seen it on their record label's website) "clarity has not made them any less weird". Recording in a professional studio and welcoming the contributions of producer Andrew Field-Pickering, the results tiptoe closer to accessibility. There's an extent to which Model Home's core duo of electronics wielder P. Cain and MC NappyNappa refuse to have their edges sanded off, but hearing these edges grind against the crisp, propulsive beats is precisely what makes the album so exhilarating. It's a step forward, but it leaves nothing behind.

In his solo work, NappyNappa has showcased his ability to excel in a more straightforward rap context, having developed into a thoughtful rapper with a dextrous, trippy flow. In Model Home, that flow becomes possessed by the abstraction of its surroundings, giving clearance to flights of sideways improvisational fancy disrupted by zoned repetitions, fried sing-song interludes, and some of the gnarliest vocal distortions this side of the Butthole Surfers' famed 'Gibbytronix'.

On tracks like opener 'Night Break', they've managed to make this approach more inviting than before, even catchy; it's still too fucked for most dancefloors, but only because it skirts the edges of normality as Ol' Dirty Bastard did throughout Return to the 36 Chambers (a bold comparison, to be sure, but not an unwarranted one). The musical beds are more straightforward and less slathered in hiss than previous efforts, but still given to freakouts and random bursts of distortion, as on the stumbling dub sizzle of the perfectly-titled '3D Printed Quinoa'.

both feet en th infinite adheres to the free-flowing formula on which Model Home have built their growing underground rep, a formula which is unlikely to make them ready for primetime. Still, should this more polished effort inch them towards more midstream attention, that would only be beneficial to society. It hasn't happened yet, but if anyone can cook up something both undeniable and completely fucked up, have faith that it is them.