Felipe and Forte – Shaggy Black

Felipe and Forte
Shaggy Black

It has been said that given an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite amount of time, that they would eventually type the entire works of Shakespeare. The corollary to this is given an infinite number of musicians playing an infinite number of instruments for an infinite amount of time, you would eventually record the ultimate album. Unfortunately for us, Felipe and Forte are only two people (Dino Felipe of Christmas Decorations and Beautiful Skin and Nick Forte of Old Bombs, Finesse, and Runway), playing a finite number of instruments and not spending nearly enough time in the studio. The result is Shaggy Black, an album of scathing, electronic savagery.

While the liner notes specify instruments such as guitars and synths, they are not so much played as used as sound generators that are sampled, looped, and processed. Then they are cut and pasted on top of other looped and processed samples, sometimes in a seemingly random order with no regard as to how it will sound. The disc is broken down into 11 tracks, each one containing its own unique blend of frenzied blips and bleeps, feedback and fuzz, and whatever other electronic weirdness Felipe and Forte feel like assaulting us with.

Some tracks could be construed as a war between man and machine, as you can hear some guitar notes, drums and cymbals, and an occasional keyboard sound amid the powerful, scorching electronics. The track that comes closest to being tuneful is “Anteater,” since it contains a recognizable, although fuzzy, guitar loop with some tinkling keyboards sprinkled in on top of what sounds like live drumming. It slowly builds to an unsettling mix but stops just short of being a loud chaotic mess, which can’t be said for most of the other tracks. In fact, the other tracks are anything but tuneful and include the sounds of an electric guitar being tortured and the sound of pigs dying among a clatter of radio static and blistering fuzz.

Felipe and Forte eschew conventional musical wisdom on Shaggy Black. Instead of chord progressions, tempo changes, time signatures, and harmonies, you will find electronically manipulated instruments and samples formed into daunting, schizophrenic soundscapes.