Local Wire

Step Kid

Digital Me is the perfect title for Step Kid's debut EP. Combining the organic rhythms of hip-hop and jazz with the synthetic sounds of electronica and drum 'n' bass, the album has a pleasantly bipolar feeling that is slick and futuristic, but profoundly intimate at the same time. The solo project of Tempe percussionist Benjamin Tyler, Step Kid is an experiment in contrast. Tyler, founder of a similarly eclectic yet soon-to-be-defunct local band called M31, gives his sequenced, sample-heavy electronic music a vibrant, human sound by incorporating his prodigious drum skills in every song. Whether he is calmly tapping out accent beats on a mostly mellow chill-out track like "Withdrawal" or furiously pounding out his frustrations on the album's title cut, Tyler's drumming brings his songs to life. A largely successful debut, Digital Me's only shortcoming may be its brevity. While consistently high in quality, the album weighs in at just over 18 minutes, and could easily be padded just a little bit, especially given the wealth of unreleased audio on the band's MySpace page. That minor qualm aside, Digital Me serves as an excellent introduction to the band and a worthy precursor to what is sure to be an eagerly anticipated sophomore release.