Skeletonized is indeed a rare breed of musical style that branches out from the gutters of Pittsburgh to bring an aggressive twist on the one-man band show. Drummer Matt Rappa combines both the authenticity of raw percussion work and various samples and electronics to create an unholy triple threat of emotion, confusion, and intrigue. Throughout his work, Rappa works in both the sporadic movement of jazz, to the complex cadences of heavy bass focused tracks with grooving snare rolls and freeform flow that is impossible to replicate and comes strongly on the ears.
As Self-Titled Cassette Excerpt opens, it is greeted with the simply titled “Side A Excerpt” that begins with near math-rock proportions of wailing horns, pounding percussion, and an assault of noise that floods to the listener and is reminiscing of an unfiltered and never calm style. The random flow, while incredibly un-fabricated and seemingly without direction shows a sincere sense of creating a completely new idea. While taking elements from other sections and genres of music, Skeletonized is able finally wind down and eventually leave the sporadic playing for more of a groove on the second half of “Side A Excerpt.” This is where the sections begin to connect and show a more distinct sense of direction. Even as the second half slowly falls in and out of these sporadic moments, Rappa is still able to bring back the reigns and really hunker down behind the cracks of both the snare and the Morse code like noises that play behind him. Finally, “Side A Excerpt” lets the dust settle with a large amount of feedback and silence before launching back into another glimpse into the pseudo-future of both animalistic unpredictability, and sheer ferocity.
Launching back into the undefined style, “Side B Excerpt” puts an immensely large focus on combining both the horns and percussion, but in a way that lets both instruments have their own spotlight. As the horns continue to wail and what sounds like a saxophone plays through both low grumbles and increasingly bravado style blurts, the percussion follows behind with continuing rolls and smacks on the cymbal domes to give off a complementary feeling between the powerhouse of instruments. Then as the percussion gradually takes the lead, the horns dial back and are instead replaced with these strange and unruly synths that take the backseat to the thunderous bass drums. Skeletonized is more of an experience and the Self-Titled Cassette Excerpt while only a small look into the future of Skeletonized, is still large enough to get a taste of something more.