Fresh Music Freaks, rejoice! The Claude Father has spoken and it’s time to let your freak flag fly. Bend them knees, flap those wings, and let’s get down to some wonky boops and beeps. Dirtybird Records label boss Claude VonStroke is back with his 4th major album “Freaks & Beaks”, and it’s arguably his spiciest work to date.
A word of warning to bird brains, Tech House junkies, and casual fans across the land; if you were hoping for some easy to digest two-tone Tech House, you’ve got another thing coming. I kindly recommend you put this album away and save it for a day your mind and body are ready for some absolutely rude grooves downloaded straight from the weird spectrum of the underground.
For those still with us after the break, I’m pleased to share that 2020 marks 15 years of Dirtybird Records and a whole lot of good news you can catch later in this piece. Not only are there some new experiences in the works, but the Dirtybird crew also put together a docuseries on the making of the album and a commemorative photo book to capture everything that’s led to this moment. The docuseries lives on Claude’s IG and the Dirtybird Book is available now for pre-order.
Claude B2B Barclay
Warm-up those bass machines, it’s time to pay homage to the synthesizer. Pressing play on the album’s intro “Warming Up the Bass Machines 2”, is a startling hello from none other than Papa Claude himself, or should I say Barclay Crenshaw his legal name and Bass music alias. Of his releases as Claude to date, Freaks & Beaks is the closest we’ve gotten to the blips and bloops Claude VonStroke describes as the “weird algorithms” his brain operates on. Check out Ep. 2 of the Freaks & Beaks Docuseries:
This being said, the lines have never been more blurred between his two aliases, and for what it’s worth we couldn’t be happier. Freaks & Beaks is a solid 58 mins and 34 seconds of dedication to everything but the norm. An ode to the freaks (it’s like he’s talking directly to us Fresh Music folks) from the front to the back, this album will take you on a journey of peculiar thought and introspection as VonStroke keenly guides the machines to do his sound-producing bidding.
Freaks & Beaks
And for our scheduled programming, please enjoy my first impression of Freaks & Beaks track by track in an off the cuff format:
“Warming up the Bass Machines 2” – Is this thing even on? Combine a helicopter taking off with a modular rig landing on experimental patches and the answer is yes.
“Freaks Don’t Fail Me Now” – Fast-paced breaks lead into a slightly Chicago beat with a soulful vocal that calls out to the freaks in a time of need.
“Flubblebuddy” – Quick reminder on what to say when we see our friends, “helllo buuuuddy.” It also serves as some inspo to keep up with the good ones and add the right ones to the guestlist (no fake friends please). All in all, rather spacey with heavy phaser and alien-like synth plucks. Justin Martin is CVS’s Flubblebuddy.
“Youngblood” – Calm, deep, and downtempo record that settles into a luscious groove. Support from Wyatt Marshall, the producer of Dirtybird’s weekly Podcast The Birdhouse, and the person we are indebted to for getting Claude into Modular Synthesis. Synthy slow-build swells culminate in sighing feminine chopped vocals. Must confirm/deny if the “Ok it works” hook is a Yaeji feature. Regardless, the sound makes me melt.
“Frankie Goes to Bollywood” – Expect pitched vocals and a familiar metronomic weirdness you’ll catch about halfway through. Interestingly enough the shortest record on the album.
“Session A” – Nominated as least weird track on the album. At over six minutes in length, this one has the potential to get played out everywhere. Keep your ears peeled and at the ready.
“Waddaday” – iF a CaVEmaN maEd hoUSe muSIC iT woULd SoUNd liKE thIS.
“All My People In The House” – The rightful first single, with a bassline that simply slaps and laser guns strewn about the whole mix you really can’t go wrong with the most recognizably Dirtybird tune on the album.
These Notes In This Order” – Chocked full of satisfying Breaks that come in from the side and make you want to do a double-take, jack your body, and do a jig.
“Alpine Arpline” – Easily my favorite from an idealistic music theory basis because who doesn’t love a good arpeggiated sequence.
“Birthday Messages” – One fateful day, the crew had the idea to open up a voicemail box for anyone who gave a damn to leave Dirtybird a birthday message. This hilarious bit of a track is the best of the best of those voice recordings with artists, fans, haters, and the sexually frustrated all chiming in to speak their minds. The good news is, the box is still hot and ready for more submissions. Here’s your shot at 15 seconds of fame!
Freaks & Beaks – out now everywhere!
DirtyBird 2020 Events
*Featured Image of Claude VonStroke as Barclay Crenshaw | Image Via Joe Gall*