Jay-Cub, whether knowingly or unknowingly, brings with it the baggage of finality as the sudden swansong of Athens prolifically eccentric Birdhouse Collection. The collective, which began releasing bizarre and anonymous tunes in 2011 before outing themselves earlier this year, undoubtedly will leave a gap in the city’s experimental scene. But as Cottonmouth’s third release shows, there’s still a bevy of eager experimentation and curiosity to bring any of the collective’s members to a halt.
A project developed during Jacob Deel’s off-time from fellow Birdhouse Collection-affiliates Muuy Biien and Pretty Bird, Cottonmouth’s demented hip hop beats and surreal deliveries most closely aligns with Pretty Bird’s psychotropic HOUSE, released earlier this year. Jay-Cub is a decidedly more “coherent” affair, allowing a meager smattering of wordless space and amorphous tones where the project’s .period graciously indulged the same vaporous corners.
Jay-Cub’s 16 tracks most immediately resemble Check Your Head-era Beastie Boys, clouding playful emcee exercises with busted, telephone receiver quality vocals atop mid-era Black Dice beat collages. Grotesque tones blend with chopped-and-screwed snippets of vocally caricatured percussion. The barely-contained delivery and deranged playfulness resemble DJ Dog Dick’s straightjacketed psycho noise rap, pitting perverse lyricism against dissonant, frazzled electronic clatter.
“A Wall,” the longest tune here, uses its time wisely, taking a few steps away from the assaultive nature of the din of manic noise throughout. With wholly recognizable choruses and verses, the track ebbs and flows with haunted aspiration. The track, which earlier surfaced as a rough gem in May 2011, resurfaces now as a lighter yet grittier play on the melody and tone of its trial run. On tracks like “Timing” and “Flowers,” Deel peddles a lucidly babbling terrain near Ariel Pink’s kitschy joy and Excepter’s ugly throb. 3 out of 5.