I’ve joked in the past that if “weird bass” was a sound you actively seek out, how weird can it really get?
Toadface is that weird. Toadface makes me rip my headphones out and ask how anybody produced what I just heard. That’s not to say the young producer is tuneless, or strange for the sake of. Far from it, in fact, his debut full-length Bugs for Breakfast out on Wakaan is the most focused, futuristic, and realized project he’s ever put out.
Along with his brother Yheti and fellow Ohio-based producer Mt. Analogue, the cleverly dubbed Trifinity collaborative project have consistently crafted some of the most foolish, futuristic, and mind-boggling sounds imaginable. Toadface’s “Floatin’ and Croakin'” and Yheti’s “Crack the Window” are what I put on when I show friends the creativity lurking under the surface of electronic music.
Bugs for Breakfast takes dripping production, the sounds of subwoofers lurching beneath a swamp, and adds a stunning feel for subverting expectations every couple of verses. This unique feature keeps the wonky design pyro from ever going stale.
“Chrome” with New Orleans’s sfam is a great display of this. Rattling percussion design with some take-no-shit snares and hi-hats are what I know from both these artists. Slimy and devious spirals drag the listener deep beneath the mire, but then Toadface surfaces with some beautiful twinkling strings to balance the space.
“Cronenberg” with Yheti and DMVU is a furious mutant of a track, appropriately named. Broken rhythms and coils of drum tracks stick godlessly out of an undulating bassline while crows yelp every couple lines. It’s unsettling and shows each artists at their most devious.
Further cementing the alien mood is “Courage” with Akamu, an amazing track I first heard in Toadface’s Okeechobee 2017 mix. Who better to recall the weird and wonderful than the news anchor from “Courage the Cowardly Dog?” An embittered Eustace yells “you stupid dog!” while a jaw-dropping wave of sound recalls the insane heights of the cult favorite sci-fi show.
Standout track “Been Around” with Eazybaked needs special recognition. For about the last year the Florida duo has blown us away with their devastating signature sound. The song is a bonafide cosmic trap, creating an impossibly thick space between subwoofer wallops. It’s one of those rare songs that would have people standing awestruck on a proper sound system.
“Stone Monkey” with Of the Trees and “Awake” delve deeper into how Toadface has grown as a producer. “Awake” features a heavily distorted rapped verse weaved through haphazardly, where the latter teeters on the edge of insanity, with simply too many wild sounds held by the gravity of the main rhythm. What a ride with this toad.
Toadface has set a new benchmark for weird and wonderful sounds on Wakaan, a label already revered for their taste. I realize asking how strange Toadface can get isn’t the question I should be asking with this artist or his ilk anymore. I’m more blown away how Toadface got this weird and made it this catchy.
See Toadface this Fall