Ditherer is by far one of the more challenging albums I’ve encountered this year. There are far more outwardly bizarre records that have been and will be released this year, but Fog has slipped us something of a wolf in pop music’s clothing. Contained in the expanse of Ditherer are songs that feel somewhat normal, but are propelled by some psychotic veneer. As an album, it shifts gears compulsively; blindly slipping between the twitchy clatter of Inflatable Ape to the lazy mourning of What’s Up Freaks.
I initially struggled with this album, constantly wanting to write it off for a short attention span and a jarring lyrical sense of humor. Little spastic touches like the deranged rising scale riff in the middle of I Have Been Wronged give light to the type of semi-charming psychosis that the album exhibits. The learning curve, even for one who’s got an ear for this kind of skewed outlook, is a little tough. I found myself charmed by one song at a time, listening to that track alone in the mindset that I’d never crack the riddle of the other 10 tracks. Slowly, a new song would catch my ear and I’d decode the foreign melody.
Albums, like this, that come clear over time, after a challenge of repeated listen are ultimately rewarding ones.