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Cex Maryland Mansions

On his second album of 2003 (his fifth overall), prolific 22-year-old MC/bedroom beatcrafter Rjyan Kidwell delivers his most focused yet fractured portrait to date. While his last full-length, Being Ridden, wavered between elliptical indieisms and folk-flecked funk, Maryland Mansions finds formerly schizophrenic production settled into a nigh-goth grind. Mentally, Cex comes across decisively unsettled and claustrophobically insecure. Over the caustic clank and syrupy creep of industrious industrial (owing a noticeable debt to NIN and Skinny Puppy), Cex rends himself in anguished howls and desperate whispers. The clamor and clamber hits with a resounding rattling, making for an album that is far more cast iron skillet than Teflon-coated. Once merely a gangly goofball amongst the IDMminent, Cex is now all the more impressive for being unafraid to wrestle with his angst candidly, if not gracefully.

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