December 4, 2003

Test Spin: Cex

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In the summer of fun 2001, Travis Morrison of the Dismemberment Plan psychically foreshadowed the band’s 2003 break-up by stating that “any artist worth his salt is a hopeless, introspective, gigantic, self-absorbed freak.” shows IDM mastermind Cex (a.k.a. Rjyan Kidwell) anxiously anticipating the returns on the release of his latest industrial folk hip-hop rock ‘n’ roll effort, Maryland Mansions.

So personal it’s voyeuristic and direct to the point of recoil, the acerbic Maryland Mansions is sure to give Rjyan many sleepless nights. Much of the album has Rjyan playing the role of both Eminem and Stan, caught in episodes of protracted personal Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. In effect, Rjyan sends himself apoplectic fan mail on the frustrations of self-expression, plotting his own demise.

But Maryland Mansions never reaches the point of self-indulgence — Rjyan’s dissatisfactions always have a call and response. And with 144 friendsters, there are always kids ready to bite their tongues along with him. So what’s his problem?

Ambition is not placated easily. In particular, Cex has aspirations of world domination (fame, fortune, bravado), but Rjyan knows that this will only come as a consequence of his inner ability to express himself outwardly. So far, he’s doing well. Maryland Mansions is an illustration of his values beginning to come to fruition, precipitated by his continuing chutzpah to follow his dreams. Right now, he’s in a curious place: not a girl, not yet a woman.

Archived article by Walter Chen