Plaid & Bob Jaroc: Greedy Baby

A collaborative audio-visual effort, Greedy Baby is a new work from electronica duo Plaid and video artist Bob Jaroc. As a CD/DVD set, the work is not entirely tied to its visual content, but it’s unjust to discuss the audio without the visual and vice versa.

Beginning with the introductory “War Dialer,” a sensory attack of telephonic noises: dial tones, busy signals, etc., Greedy Baby quickly suggests a tone of claustrophobia that carries throughout the piece, audio and visual. A ’70s, Yes- esque diagram depicts the sound effects coming from different angles. Quickly following is “I Citizen The Loathsome,” involving panorama work of cityscapes that is echoed later in “Zn Zero,” except clearly in Asia.

Two pieces utilize a “visualization” technique, in the a-message spirit of much video art: the incredible “The Launching Of Big Face” and highly trippy “Super Positions,” which pulsate spectacularly with Plaid’s apotheosis of syncopation. The most politically motivated selection, “The Return Of Super Barrio,” is a Mexican-themed cartoon (and song) depicting a Santo-like hero who challenges the oppressors of the people to a wrestling match.

Perhaps the most elegant work (possible exception being “The Launching Of Big Face”) is the closer, “To,” which synchronizes the closing track with bird flights over a static sunset. The simple idea proves hypnotic and impressive, while not evoking anything besides its own self.

Plaid utilize their trademark tuned percussion sound throughout the record, as well as their tendency to speed and slow tempos seemingly arbitrarily. However, the mixing of the record with the video material is seamless. The DVD portion of the set also has four extra tracks from the Greedy Baby set that had been developed over the last few years.

Greedy Baby plays like a complete, holistic expression of the digital world. The claustrophobia, the condensing, the slight disorientation of the set seems to represent the ever diminishing space humanity currently occupies, and our propensity to fill that space as efficiently as possible. A complete, essential work for video art and electronica enthusiasts.

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