Carl Cadwell has been a fixture of the Chattanooga music scene for quite some time, making sounds with a handful of different musicians and peddling his own mutated dance-rock concoctions. But he isn’t strictly limited to this geography, having worked with Alan Palomo of Neon Indian on a remix of “Mind, Drips” and on varying projects involving sewing machines, small pox and Organic Valley. Under the moniker of Summer Dregs, he creates a vivid and tumbling hybrid consisting of fragments of R&B, pop and electronic music.
The basic elements may be familiar, but the way in which he constructs his songs is refreshingly divergent and often sounds as though he’s beaming them in from some distant planet. Invariably catchy and strewn with unavoidable pop shrapnel, they’re expansive and just waiting for you to fall into their kaleidoscopic clutches.
On recent single, “Body Language,” he’s paired up with artists Swayyvo and Paul Smallman to create a churning electro-pop potion that bubbles and boils with off-kilter percussion, rumbling synths and warped harmonies. Featuring vocals from Swayyvo and Smallman (and the odd sample from Swayyvo’s song “Sho Nuff”), the track develops and maintains a galloping momentum, even when the song’s tempo eventually begins to shift and adapt to its surroundings. Despite its chaotic appearance, there’s never a moment here when Cadwell loses his focus or restricts the music’s serpentine progression.
“’Body Language’ is the culmination of me finding confidence in my voice as a producer,” Cadwell explains. “Each moment contains a tangle of rhythms and melodies. Yet they add up to a whole that both snaps and is oddly bonkers. I feel the real effectiveness of this song is shown in the artists who have asked me to work with them since its release. They are coming to me not just to get good sounds, but to capture the spirit of this sound. This sexy, bonkers, neon vibe that I’ve been building over the past year.”