Thee Reps – Minimal Surface

8.13.19 by Ryan Masteller

New York pranksters Thee Reps start with weird little noodles and expand upon them, using the repetition of certain passages as building blocks to create intricate structures of sound.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

“Rep” is slang for “reputation,” as in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air song “You’re only sixteen, you don’t have a rep yet!” But here it’s slang for “repetition,” meaning repeated passages. (This has been mentioned.) “Thee” is biblical for “The,” and so there may or may not be religious connotations in the music. However, since the music is instrumental, I’m going to go with “No,” although there’s a song called “Qumran” which is really close to “Qur’an.” So there’s that.

The quintet of Dave Ruder, Karen Waltuch, Jeff Tobias, Sam Morrison, and Max Jaffe fall somewhere on the spectrum between Pattern Is Movement (remember them?) and Cave, which is to say, neo-Neu! jammage run through a time signature ringer. Mathy yet delicate, krauty yet complex, “Minimal Surface” allows the band to expand while staying completely crouched and compact wherever they happen to be placed in time and space. It’s easy to picture them this way as there isn’t much in the way of explosive release, but the configurations exude a comfort you can sense in both composition and execution. You can play spot the influence all day too – I just heard some Tortoise and some Rachel’s in there. Good company.

So head over to Gold Bolus and grab a copy. You can check out a stream of the album from Cassauna below.