Sufjan Digs Cryptacize’s Dig That Treasure, Maybe Isn’t So Into Vampire Weekend

We’ve posted a couple of original tracks by Asthmatic Kitty trio Cryptacize, as well as their cover of Steely Dan’s “Peg” (for which, they were taken down a few pegs in the comments). That said, the smartest way for a young (or old) band to get their name out there is to have a band with a “bigger” name review you. Ask Daniel Johnston. Or, maybe ask the Meat Puppets (actually, we did) or Vaselines. Sufjan isn’t of Nirvana proportions, and we have to take into consideration that he’s writing about his label mates on his label site, but no doubt his positive thoughts on Crypaticize’s debut will do good things for Chris, Michael, and Nedelle. It’s also good writing. On top of that, he takes a swipe at Vampire Weekend. Yes, it’s got it all. The title: “Cryptacize is ALIVE! Decipher that code, yo!” The highlights:

Yes, of course I revel in the busy ambition of songwriters who seek to challenge themselves to endless boundaries, to jump fences, to scale large mountains. But what is the effort all about? Cryptacize yield to no such ambitions. They make music that is refreshingly coherent, stewed with deliberate melodies, a refinement of instrumentation, no excess, nothing wasted, nothing lost. Their new record “Dig That Treasure” offends many of my own musical impulses, the over-achieving bigger-is-better-shock-and-awe approach. Obviously I’m not offended, but rather in complete admiration of the band’s minimalist gorgeousness. These songs are not trifles, but rather cryptic haiku poems that expand toward a vast cosmic significance. But one doesn’t have to be a cartographer to appreciate these songs. Their surfaces shimmer to the ear, like magic crystals hanging in the windowsill…

Chris Cohen’s guitar shakes off all the fashionable amplifiers and effects pedals of his previous band Deerhoof…

Sometimes I worry that the ever-increasing trend toward excessive innovation has pushed the art and music world into a slapstick exhibition of dog breeding, generating increasingly newer, more contemporary fashions: gothic folk, for one. Or Afro-beat Ivy League pop. Maybe this only reflects the inevitable merging of all cultures, in which art slowly becomes a least common denominator for the interchange of multiple civilizations coming together in one song. I don’t mind the intermarrying of ideas. This is the natural sequence of events. We are all better for it; it is fundamentally American. But sometimes the effort of innovation itself is just empty exertion, unspirited and unreal, bearing bad fruit. Cryptacize, of course, shirks all such ambition and seeks instead to “know thyself.” The record speaks of something much more present, in a careful tone, with the considerate enumeration of an enlightened monk who, after spending countless hours in isolation, in prayer, in thought, in meditation, decides instead to leave the monastery to play jazz guitar at Bibbi’s Bar and Grill on Main Street. Yes, of course, I’d go to that show.

Afro-beat Ivy League pop? Wonder who that is. David Tibet might disagree about “gothic folk” being a new thing, but all said, thoughtful and thought provoking. You can read the rest at Asthmatic Kitty.

[Photo via Asthmatic Kitty’s Flickr]