Let me tell you a secret: Prior to writing this, I had little to no idea as to who exactly Idiotape was. I had seen the name floating around on YouTube and Soundcloud playlists and whatnot, but my knowledge of them pretty much extended to their name and nothing more.
And yet, I still decided to take their brand new release, Dystopian, have a listen, and write about it. Why? Because this column is called “Surprise of the Week,” after all, and nothing says “surprise” like picking up a record of an act you’ve never listened to and picking it apart track after track for the purpose of entertainment and musical discovery.
Idiotape is a three-piece electronica band with Dguru at the production and DJ, DR at the drums, and Zeze at the synths. They’ve received the Korean Music Award for the Best Dance and Electronic Album back in 2012 for their first full album 11111101, and have also performed in various music festivals and venues all over the world. Now signed with HIGHGRND, they’ve put out Dystopian on June 16, which happens to be their third full-length album.
Idiotape might not be incredibly popular, but they’ve surely made a name for themselves out there through the years. So how does Dystopian fare, in terms of music?
The first word that comes to mind is grandiose. Right from the start, as the first few notes of the first track “Among a Hundred Faces” resonate, you get the feeling that more is coming, and that whatever it might be, it’ll only leave you more excited for what else the album has in store. In a sense, this particularity makes “Among a Hundred Faces” the perfect introduction to the album.
Then, afterwards, though the songs each have their own little quirks making them unique, the sound of the album remains rather uniform. It takes a lot from rock—especially British rock, with heavy influences from the likes of Radiohead or Muse—and adds a distinct electronic element to it.
The fact that Idiotape’s music is completely instrumental also puts even more emphasis on the sound itself: how it’s built and how each of the elements stand out. The result is often timeless and eccentric, but in a way that makes us even more curious for what else is coming. But that doesn’t mean that the music doesn’t have emotion or meaning. You can still feel frustration, or peace, while listening to the album, depending on the track.
Dystopian is very much a musical endeavour. It’s hard, impossible even, to pick a favorite track, as it is infinitely better to listen to the entire album all at once and get immersed in the music and the flow of songs. Some do stand out, though, be it for their peculiar beat like “Tiger & Lion,” or their melody and refreshing instrumentalization like what we find in “All the Same Inside.”
As someone who wasn’t familiar with Idiotape before, I must say I’m definitely hooked now. I’m unable to say how this release fares amongst their previous ones—I’m just a newbie, after all—but Dystopian definitely piqued my interest for the band.