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Fringe Character, Better Yeti


  • Crystal Corner Bar 1302 Williamson Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)
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Madison-based hip-hop project Fringe Character is a nine-piece band onstage, and in the studio it's a more fluid entity centered around producer/multi-instrumentalist Ben Sholl. Given that format and Sholl's self-coined "nuelectrosoulhop" genre descriptor, it's no surprise that Fringe Character's debut album, last year's Mint, had a bit of kitchen-sink feel to it, cramming in collaborators, tricky song structures, and a range of sonic impulses—albeit with a sense of purpose and with plenty of deftly crafted verses from MCs Dudu Stinks and Daewong. But on Phases, the new album Fringe Character will celebrate at this show, it sounds as if the project wiped the slate clean and started with a foundation of gentle guitar and Rhodes chords, tender melodies, and tastefully reverbed open space. There's plenty of collaboration on Phases too, but it rarely strays too far from the subdued, reflective mood on the album's first single, "Star Washer" (which features frequent vocal collaborator GregB), even when channeling warped reggae rhythms on "Hydroplane" or crafting playfully odd funk with fellow Madisonians Mr. Jackson and DJ Phil Money on "Deep Field." Rather than coming off as moody, this quieter and more restrained side of Fringe Character feels tinged with wonder and renewal. It also turns out to be as good a setting for Dudu Stinks and Daewong's nimble exchanges as any, especially on "Pleiades." —Scott Gordon

Earlier Event: October 14
Graham Nash
Later Event: October 15
Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher