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Posted on December 31st, 2012 (9:30 am) by Stephen Hayward

Minnesota is the musical pseudonym of Christian Bauhofer, a 23 year old from Santa Cruz. His music panders to those who believe art should soothe (read: anesthetize) our minds while energizing our bodies, a program contrary to any form of self-betterment I have been able to locate in Buddhist teachings. This makes Bauhofer's appropriative gestures more than ethically problematic. Altered States, Minnesota's new EP, mixes anemic (I mean absolutely lifeless) trap beats, cookie-cutter-derivative dubstep bass, and Garageband-preset ambient synths with vaguely 'Oriental' melodies and references to your "third eye." Guest rapper Zion I likens himself to Buddha and then immediately "rolls a dub" to fill a club with smoke. If, as Buddhist scripture would have us believe, all perceived reality is illusion and suffering, Minnesota is thoroughly blinded to this fact. He just wants to see you dance.

Altered States is stunningly formulaic, but ultimately underwhelming in this regard. I can imagine an album so beholden to the strictures of its stated genre, and it ends up being an extremist statement of value. Altered States is not that album, and Minnesota seems to lack the ironic self-regard which would make his hip hop histrionics, major-chord grandiosity, and artificial dramatics seem more than a dull exercise in derivative bass music production. The only humor found on Altered States is a sort of frat-boy misogyny, best exemplified on "Yoga Pants," a track draining the charm out of the perhaps misguided, but ignorantly well-intended Western appropriation of Eastern culture, leaving only the prospect of seeing (presumably white) girls' asses in sheer tights: "Left and right, go and work that--".

The real humor of Altered States lies in how silly it all sounds. The false attempts at 'meditative' ambient sound, 'crushed' by 'sick bass drops.' The vacuous 'drama' of heavy 'club bangers.' THAT FUCKING 'WOBBLE BASS' which, stripped of novelty and laid bare, is unintentionally obscene, like glimpsing a naked man through his living room window. Everything said about Minnesota must be put in quotations, because all he gives us are wan approximations of what these terms designate. One thing Bauhofer does have is great branding. I mean, check out that website. For me, Minnesota is merely one moment in a larger, troubling narrative, one wishing to cleanse music of thought and leave only grinding bodies on the dance floor in the form of commercial "bass music.

Track List:
1. Indian Summer.
2. Float
3. Tokyo
4. Yoga Pants
5. To The Floor

Minnesota: Altered States EP
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

18 / 100
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