July 14, 2016

LP: CE Schneider Topical - Antifree

CE Schneider Topical breaks free from the daily routine.

With summer typically comes innocent stagnation – waiting for the same bus in scorching heat each afternoon, sweating on the fire escape of a non-air conditioned apartment building, biking around a familiar city or suburban routes. There’s a sense of ease and repetition that buries itself deep. Perhaps that’s why CE Schneider Topical is such a welcome respite from the predictability of the season and the jangly beach releases that inevitably follow. Antifree, released on OSR Tapes, is the newest creation from CE Schneider Topical duo Christina Schneider and Zach Phillips. Consisting of jolting twists and spins, delving into the 17-track LP all at once feels like riding in a glass-walled subway car. As soon as you think you’ve caught up with the melody, the bassline, or even Schneider’s disquietingly tender voice, it shatters and reconstructs – you get off on the wrong stop.

"$5 Best" begins with hesitant queries and off-balance chords before briefly cascading into a harmonious high. "Exit All Seasons" lures listeners in with the vague sounds of hazy ragtime rhythms before devolving into Schneider’s characteristic dissonance. And then there are the outliers, with "I Think I’m Dead" offering a rare and structured break from the breathless disarray of the surrounding tracks. In some ways, or perhaps most, it admittedly seems futile to write, or even talk about, CE Schneider Topical’s newest release. The intention gets lost in translation – partly because Antifree is such an internal experience, and partly because it rests comfortably on the fringes of what music is currently understood to be. Instruments are played off-key and Schneider lets us listen in on perhaps some of her most fragmented background thoughts, perplexingly asserting on "Officially Set." “Officially yes / Category best dressed / Officially sealed / I replace plastic.” That being said, despite the demanding experimentation, CE Schneider Topical never ventures into the parched territory of pretension; if we’re willing to partake, then they’re willing to have us.


Listen to CE Schneider Topical on bandcamp 

Lauren Ball, an investigative journalism student based in Chicago, IL. She's excited to help derail the patriarchy and overturn capitalistic power structures, but is trying not to get too dramatic here. Check out her work in American Songwriter Magazine, Highlight Magazine, Esoteric Zine, and her poetry in Sobotka Literary Magazine.