New Criticals

(NYC Hell, 3:00am digital cover)

The unreliability of digital exchanges, an implied theme in Ferraro's earlier work, shows up on NYC Hell 3:00am as well. For Ferraro, technology is a construct that further complicates the connection to everyday lived experiences, and stubbornly mediates relationships that he longs for direct connection with. These ideas, filtered through auto-tune and cold breakbeats all sound a bit like karaoke versions of The Weeknd, rendered all the more ludicrous and sinister in the hands of its maker, an all-the-more affecting commentary on metropolitan malaise when viewed through his eyes. There are random text-to-speech passages littered throughout the album. For instance “City Smells” opens with a clutter of the words Xerox .jpegs pixelated sexy 100% sexy. This conveys the same sort of stone-faced irony of Radiohead’s “Fitter Happier”, spam emails, or the farcical disembodied tweets of @Horse ebooks, communicating the effect of machines gone awry. But computers aren’t the only faulty mechanisms on the record. NYCH3A reeks of existential dread and the looming geopolitical ghosts of the W. Bush era haunt every song. References to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 (in the form of 911 calls, breaking news TV bulletin reports, ambient street noises, and police sirens) are scattered throughout the album to further emphasize how truly dystopian post-9/11 New York City still is if you're paying attention and how it continues to frame broken interpersonal connections. It is in Ferraro’s effectiveness in assembling these feelings, sounds, and ideas that makes the experience of listening so all-consuming.

Hell (not heaven) is a place on earth.

(NYC Hell, 3:00am CD cover)