David Skaggs: Glass Teeth

David Skaggs is a North Carolina-based artist whose music first showed up on Bandcamp in November of 2019. His first album, PIGMAN, introduced us to a chaotic, synth-heavy, and sample-filled world of abstract audio art in the vein of musical absurdism and experimental playfulness. Now, David has released Glass Teeth, his third album following May 2020’s A Harmless, Capshooting, Giant Atomic Bomb. With seven tracks running a total of just over thirty-three minutes, David’s latest is his most cohesive work yet while maintaining the chaos of his earlier projects. The record is an idiosyncratic collection of songs that grab and distort everything from sound collage to ambient noise with impressive skill. Through each track and over every listen, David’s ideas become less buried by the chaos of his style and display a promising new artist.

Glass Teeth kicks off with “Intro,” a synth-lead sampler of the manic sounds to come. Transitioning to “Who Would Do a Thing Like That, Pt. 1,” David’s melody structure becomes more discernible with a catchy synth motif and percussion altered to nearly sound like the backing of an industrial club track. The song and its “Pt. 2” companion, which shows up at the album’s end, are the most pop-oriented entries found on the project despite their imposing lengths. The two provide an interesting arch to the record as a whole, with their sounds being less non-objective relative to the tracks sandwiched between them. However, this skillful packaging of sound is hampered by weaker entries such as “Too Young for Anger.” The song hones in on David’s ambient influence to a fault, giving us a shifting layer of synth on a bed blurry background noise. Although perhaps working as a gentle palette cleanser, the song’s lack of chaos compared to the rest of the album is rather jarring. David’s work is at its best when chaotic, and “Too Young for Anger” seems to have forgotten that.

Though occasionally stumbling, Glass Teeth is saved by songs like “Man-Made Chicken, Pt. 1.” With a title suggesting a tongue-in-cheek attitude and a sound embarrassing the unpolished and abrasive, the track is a refreshingly care-free work. Other songs, like the jazzy “Test It Out,” are more willing to work within broadly-accepted musical norms but with an edge of experimentation found in their repetitive structure and occasionally glitchy production. Glass Teeth as a record works in a similar way: utilizing strangeness without disregarding traditional influences to make music that is interestingly unique. This, combined with David’s strength in sonic story-telling, makes it easy to get excited about whatever the artist will be producing next.

Rating: 7.5/10

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