by Nathan Hall
For some strange reason I have yet to be able to explain, local electronica act Digitata’s hypnotic new CD, Sexually Transmitted Emotion, is the disc I have consistently been falling asleep to this week. Not in the Good-God-this-new-REM-album-is-so-boring sense, more of a My-what-a-soothing-sound-oh-man-it’s-already-3 A. M.-why-am-I-still-working type of vibe. The reason I mention this is that I have also duly noted that Digitata-fueled dreams are by far some of the most bizarre and intense dreams I have experienced in my 26 years on this here planet.
Download an mp3 of Digitata’s song “Spring Fever.”
None of which probably makes the band very happy with me, as it appears by
all accounts to aim more for hot-make-out-jams status. Moreover, to be fair,
that is indeed its primary application according to an informal and decidedly
unscientific poll that I conducted recently.
that is not to discount the weird-ass sleeping soundtrack capabilities, mind
you. Dreams where I am in Yankee Stadium and it is totally empty except for
Matt Damon and his brand new herd of sheep. The type of dreams where Donald
Trump gives me a million dollars and I end up blowing the whole wad by marrying
the entire cast of the film “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” male and female,
in an elaborate ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah. The kind of dreams where I’m
walking down the hallways in junior high and I run into Mr. Belvedere, who mentions
that my mom really likes him a lot and he will be joining us for dinner this
evening. That sort of thing.
The band Digitata is more or less a side project of Andy Christopherson and
Ryan Olson of Mel Gibson & the Pants fame with Maggie Morrison on diva vocal
duties. Whereas Mel Gibson & The Pants is ostensibly avant-garde, Anticon-brand
backpacker hip-hop, Digitata strays more into shiny yet sultry glitch-hop knob
twiddling, as if Manitoba, Vox Vermillion and Diplo stumbled back from the bar
and passed out cradled in each other’s arms on an old beanbag.
Live drummer and keyboardist Christopherson also contributes to Building Better
Bombs, better known as P.O.S.’s ongoing hardcore project. Vocalist and
Wurlitzer organ operator Maggie Morrison was briefly a member of the now defunct
psychobilly outfit Kentucky Gag Order, some of whose said members later went
on to form the Belles of Skin City. Together with sequenced beat master Ryan
Olson, Christopherson is a co-proprietor of the fledgling independent record
label Totally Gross National Product. TGNP is now home to the aforementioned
Digitata, Mel Gibson & the Pants and Belles of Skin City.
Standout track “Death And The Beach” draws comparisons to cinematic,
chill-out product shelved next to, say, Morcheeba, St. Etienne and possibly
even Black Box Recorder to a certain extent. Fisher Price beats commingle peacefully
with tasteful piano licks, while a sensuous young lady coos about not knowing
what to wear for the evening. Imagine if the printer at work suddenly sprouted
legs and sneakers and then started break dancing and you are halfway there.
All middle-class-Caucasian-Joe-jobbers with some college under their belt, hailing
originally from the fair state of Wisconsin, the group has been playing together
for roughly a year and a half now. As the trio explained to me over cheap beer
and even cheaper tacos in Uptown recently, they’re all pretty sure they
wouldn’t classify their act as rap per se, but certainly don’t mind
the burgeoning attention they’ve been receiving as of late from Doomtree,
Eyedea and others within the local Hip-Hop community.
“We got to go on tour for nine shows opening up for Atmosphere, which
was incredible,” said Christopherson. “It definitely was a different
type of crowd than we usually get, and by different I mean much much bigger,”
Morrison added with a wink. Olson happily mentioned that it was indeed Stef
from P.O.S. moonlighting as a hand model for the blingy goods displayed on the
front cover. “But don’t get me wrong, we’re still all about
shooting 50 Cent.”
As is obviously also the case with Mel Gibson & the Pants, a healthy and
decidedly ribald sense of humor separates Digitata far above atypically morose
laptop minimalist maestros such as TM Schneider. Case in point: goofy song titles
like “Oscar Wilde Breakdown” and the totally random Barry White
solo on lead track “What’s Cooking?”
aww-shucks-signature-silliness was in rare form for a taping of the local television
program “Drinking with Ian,” the debut of which the trio awaits
with baited breath. “There’s a ton of profanities,” Christopherson
informed me, literally beaming.
Olson, whose towering greasy pompadour causes him to slightly resemble the protagonist
of the 1991 Don Bluth film “Rock-A-Doodle,” remained cagey about
the true meaning of the band’s name. “All I’m going to say
is that you’ll need a very old medical dictionary,” explained Olson
in a cryptic, mysterious tone. “I will give you a hint: it is not electronic
breasts,” offered Morrison semi-helpfully.
The TNGP collective has also apparently snagged some venture capitalist investors
recently, reported Olson. “We have no business experience whatsoever but
we do have some fans who aren’t afraid to lose money,” Olson stated
Live, they do not really talk much between songs. Earnestly citing both Wham!
and Renaldo & the Loaf as primary influences, not to mention drugs and Old
Dirty Bastard, it is almost impossible not to love this band. And if there is
any sense of justice left in this cruel world of ours, Digitata will pen the
new theme song for “The Dream Doctor” radio show. ||
Digitata perform the CD release show for Sexually Transmitted Emotions
on Fri. May 27 at the 7th St. Entry with Thunder In the Valley, Mute Era and
The Nightvision. 9 p.m. 21+. $6. 701 First Ave. N., Mpls. 612-338-8388.
Find out more about Digitata on their record labels official
Head on over to our mp3 page to download hundreds of
songs, including Digitata’s “Spring Fever.”