Id M Theft Able, arguably Portland’s most prominent noise musician, has a swirling blur of a sound that is as disorienting as it is fascinating.
He builds massive sonic barrages out of samples from discarded twenty-five cent LPs, spastic vocal improvisation and heavily manipulated cassette recordings. This is the sort of Noise (With a capital ‘N’!) that causes most people to scratch their heads and start arguing about what exactly makes something music as opposed to garbage. On “Endless Blooper,” Id M Theft Able smashes this point of debate to smithereens in a schizophrenic tornado of surrealist madness.
Notably the track, “Y’not my sister, not my sister” fuses destroyed tape squeals with skipping vocal samples and sing-a-long intonations of the titular lyric. It’s a sort of playground song from hell. There is truly something deeply enjoyable, though, about the way the track drops nervous and strained melodic vocalization against a background of slowly exploding recordings.
“I’m Fine” is almost conventionally listenable at points, as it has the most hypnotic rhythm of the bunch. It’s nearly impossible to tell what has been constructed or simply sampled throughout “Endless Blooper,” but the foundational backing tracks create a shuffling, skeletal funereal march complete with a glitchy vintage drum machine and mournful choir samples. Over this backdrop, Id M Theft Able has laid close up vocal overdubs that sound like what happens when a twelve year old gets their first cassette recorder (in a great way.) Throughout “Endless Blooper” in fact, there’s a constant and strange up close vocal presence that seems to be delivered directly into the listener’s ear.
The saving grace of Id M Theft Able’s music is his sublime sense of humor. Where many noise musicians achieve emotional resonance through dark and violent imagery, he turns the whole thing into a wildly amusing joke with his off-beat humor and almost childlike love of vocal regurgitation.
His music can be seen as at once disturbing and real, the end product of a massive cultural implosion and alarmingly funny — the freewheeling sound play of a man who spends just as much time onstage twiddling knobs as he does making infantile noises with his mouth.