Mr. Bill’s latest release, IRL, may be his most emotive album yet. Don’t fret, party people–this is still danceable glitch-funk through and through, packed with Mr. Bill’s signature swing rhythms, finger snaps, beeps, and bloops. There’s no indication that he isn’t making these songs in a bounce-house, bunny hopping with his laptop in hand and having more fun than a toddler at a toy store. After all, with song titles like Slutteral Gump and Satellite Slum, he can’t be taking himself too seriously. And you can tell from his Facebook that he’s a pretty jovial guy, rarely getting worked up over anything.
Case in point: if you pre-ordered this album before March 14, you qualified to download it that day for one day only. Otherwise, the album was slated to go live on March 21, and there were only one or two songs previewed beforehand, so this seemed like a decent way to get some early purchases and build up hype.
But the record label, SectionZ, accidentally released the album for purchase to everyone on March 14, even to those who hadn’t pre-ordered it yet–your typical rockstar would probably be pissed. So how does Mr. Bill react? From his Facebook on March 14:
“…we’re leaving it released now to avoid having people get angry and such
Basically WOO-HOO MY NEW ALBUM IRL IS OUT! :D”
A reaction this laid-back is no surprise coming from an artist who regularly shares his music for free and fully discloses how he makes his songs from start to finish. You’ve gotta love such a carefree, open-book policy.
But the most striking thing about IRL is just how emotional it sounds. All of the chopped-up vocal samples lend a strong human element to his otherwise mechanical, synthesizer-dominated arrangements. He already expressed his respect for Skrillex last year by including one of his tracks on a mix composed of songs that inspire him. But now he’s running with the Skrillex influence full-force. Every track is loaded with phonetic clips, forming a stirring bed of vowels, consonants, and twisted melodies that alternate between heartbreaking and inspiring.
IRL is also easily the most epic album Mr. Bill has ever made. The opener feels like the intro to a Quadrophenia-style rock opera, complete with a dramatic grand piano and Pete Townsend’s love of arpeggiated synths. In true prog-rock style, one of the songs is even split into two sequential tracks–a gesture that’s pretty rare these days considering most people don’t listen to two songs by the same artist in a row, let alone an entire album from start to finish. But at the same time, this is his most accessible release, finding him shedding some of his neuro-jazz influences and settling into something far more repetitive and hypnotic.
Get it now over at SectionZ’ Bandcamp.