Free Music, “Kool Toad/Great Music”

Sam Lefebvre

free music kool toad great music night people

Night-People, the quietly industrious Minnesota label operated by Shawn Reed of Wet Hair, recently released a volley new material. And among the goods—which include Blossoming Mums’ breezy acoustic thrum and Germ Class’ skeletal R&B—is a new cassette by Free Music, the outlet of Seattle artist William Statler, entitled Kool Toad/Great Music.

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“Rock & Roll Music (Masters of Nothing)” features a sort of pinball arrangement; compositional elements thwack and bleep in tandem, igniting flares of sound and feeling every time they collide. Statler’s vocals are similarly unstable, shifting between a ragged coo and modulated outbursts that progressively contort and warble as the song progresses. “You,” another cut from the tape, opens with a slowly and beautifully cascading keyboard sequence. The passage warrants repeat listening on its own, but it introduces another synth-pop excursion, this one laden with Statler’s overstated croon and charmingly budget back-ups. At the very end of the track, the sounds of one person’s footsteps followed by a click are barely audible, perhaps in case Free Music doesn’t sound enough like worked steeped in solitude, at home, and with few expectations.

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