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(G25 Productions)

Listening to Threeps is like taking a fitfull sleep journey through a weird dream in which Dr. Demento, late-night horror movie features, and lo-fi electronic music all fall together into a sprawling soundtrack that is sometimes playful and hilarious and at other times downright creepy. Blanketship is an artist that released a string of EPs through the first couple years after the millenium on cassette-only (luddite, or another wrinkle in the oddity?), and Threeps (aka Three EPs, get it?) is the journey through his strange little world.

The release opens with a filtered daytime-soap string loop with warm synths that pad across the top of it on "Welcome To Willow Bend." At the end of the minute-long track, a distorted chorus comes up singing like a warped record, then the release is quickly off to the lo-fi drum machine and dated-synth sound of "Tapioka Pudding Theme." "Chloser" is one of the more musically solid tracks on the first third, spitting out warm spurts of electro and pretty little melodies that sound like something Plaid would do on a good day. The weirdness continues with "Dwarfism," a hodge-podge of harpsichords, bongos, and what could be someone humming (filtered of course) before the track completely devolves to string synths and other kooky vocal stylings.

The second part of the EP section shows definitely musical improvement, although the winks are still there. "Attack" is nothing like the title suggests, instead rolling a spliffed-out 8-bit beat and wah-wah synths that used to be affiliated more closely with Snoop Dogg. To say that the album is eclectic is probably putting it nicely. Just when you think the production is going to take on a slightly glossier sheen, out come the cheap casio keyboard melodies and broke-down drum machine beats. Part of the charm of the album is revelling in those sounds and creating something interesting out of them, though, and much of the time Threeps holds its own in that department. If it can be faulted in any way, it simply runs on for too long exploring many of the same themes over and over again. At 25 tracks and well over an hour, it could have been tightened up a lot more and made into a little better release with a touch of trimming (but then it wouldn't act as an anthology of sorts, either). At any rate, it has little things in common with early Warp artists if you can imagine them dropping down even further in their bedroom production techniques and working on even cheaper equipment (but mostly wringing it for all its worth). Either way, Threeps is an odd little diversion, and often times really fun.

Rating: 6.75