Will 2016 be the year our ears catch up to Andrew Broder? He’s been an unsung folk experimentalist, bordering on the title of cult figure, since the 2002 release of Fog’s self-titled debut on Dinkytown Records (later re-released on Ninja Tune). By 2007’s Ditherer, Broder was pushing further than bedroom sound collages with artful turntablism by collaborating with luminaries like Low, Phil Elverum, Dosh, Yoni Wolf of Why?, and Andrew Bird. And yet, few cared still. Rather than lay the shaming on thick that Fog deserves better, I’ll look ahead to the forthcoming For Good LP and its second single “Kid Kuma”.
For Good is a Kickstarter-funded project, proving there are enough Fog heads with over $17,000 collectively to keep the dream alive. With recording time split at Justin Vernon’s April Base compound and Eau Claire studio Hive with Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Menomena, Andrew Bird), For Good is a more mature, more polished incarnation of Fog. It’s also a return to the origin as the majority of the record was composed alone in Broder’s basement. The outset of “Kid Kuma” reflects this as we’re confronted with electronic production, a Steinway piano, and Broder’s unhinged memories. By the hook, bass scales with Thundercat-esque velocity speed beneath Broder’s falsetto. Although, he had another bass virtuoso in mind.
“When I played the bass I was thinking about Flea,” Broder wrote in a statement about the development of the song. “I don’t know that I wanted it to sound like Flea but I was definitely thinking about Flea.”
The marriage of the many faces of Fog is completed with wiggly turntable manipulations and fractured recordings of Chief Keef that lurk low in the sound. It’s as though in the nine years since the last Fog record Andrew Broder has managed to metabolize himself. In fact, “Kid Kuma” was written with exactly that intent, as Broder shared that it can be heard as a “grown-up spiritual sequel” to “Pneumonia”. He’s cherry-picked his best selves since 2002 and For Good is ready for reintroduction, possibly at his best.
“If you ever felt like a total nobody this song is for you,” he said. “And if you can remember a specific moment in time when you became aware of your own specialness so much so that it scared you into an immediate change of course this song is for you too.”
Fog’s For Good is out April 29 on Totally Gross National Product.