eMusic Review 0
The Headphone Masterpiece? Well, yes and no: this lo-fi collection of homespun R&B was definitely made with headphones in mind (and from the sound of things, it was recorded through them as well). But therein lies its charm. Perhaps in the MySpace era we've gotten used to a musical landscape littered with diamonds in the rough, but when The Headphone Masterpiece appeared in 2002, it felt like a very different kind of release. Its creator was a virtual unknown outside L.A. music circles, and the album — his debut — was shamelessly ambitious, sprawling to fill two CDs with no fewer than 37 tracks. In many ways, it felt more like a sketchbook than a finished product; 11 tracks ran less than two minutes, and all of them sounded like demos — maybe even demos of demos. After a major-label deal had gone bad, ChesnuTT had recorded the whole thing by himself, at home, complete with audible tape hiss and a mixdown that would have most audio engineers weeping onto their consoles.
If ChesnuTT's amateur ethic came straight from Sebadoh, his musical influences are harder to pin down: working with a stripped-down toolbox of drum machine, sparse keyboards, guitars and,… read more »