Review - Maryland Mansions

Artist: Cex

Baltimore's Rjyan "Cex" Kidwell is an Ÿber-prolific electro-indie-hop artist whose forays into the autobiographical and fantastic can be difficult to separate. On "Mansions" -- Kidwell's third 2003 release -- the scales appear to tip from playful to personal. In a recent interview, Kidwell compared "Mansions" to Nine Inch Nails' aggro classic "Broken" EP which found Trent Reznor railing against an oppressive record company. In tribute, Kidwell pads his neuroses (his hometown, his place in a music industry that overshadows him) with abrasive, shredded-nerve synths and serene acoustic chipping, imitating Reznor's acidic sneer and overprocessed wail. Toward the end, Kidwell seems to lighten up, spewing relatively loopy rhymes -- until you suss the meaning behind his traveling-salesman metaphors.

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