I. F

Decades from now, when it’s time for labels to cash in on retrospective boxed sets of songs by today’s stars, it’ll be tougher for them to find unreleased material because it’s never been easier for artists to share their creations — in all stages of development. Take Portland musician Scott Nicholas, who has released the first of three planned demo-tape-pastiche EPs under his Woundupbird moniker. I. Fabrication is only eight minutes long, yet it’s full of tantalizing ideas, melodies, found sounds and spoken words. Just when a song begins to find purchase, Nicholas rips the rug out from under us, abruptly shifting to the next outsider post-punk collage. It’s frustratingly unfinished, like the odds-and-sods outtakes that make it onto one of those 12-disc Bob Dylan Bootleg Series releases only a psychopathic fan could love. Yet in a way, Nicholas’ strategy worked on me. The opening track, “Youmoonshortcome,” is a slacker-pop earworm with a snappy riff and an odd time signature. Just when some flute sounds appear, and the track feels like it’s about to really take off, we’re dragged unceremoniously into track two. Give moments like this time to develop, and Woundupbird could be capable of meditative crackpot crossover hits to rival The Beta Band. I. Fabrication. kept making me think I’d accidentally hit the skip button, which only made it clear how much I didn’t want to skip.

— Joe Sweeney

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