KILLED in CARS

More About Me

KILLED in CARS is a 'thank you' to the musicians who enrich my life, and a way to reach people curious about expression through sound.

This site has thrived as a destination for discussion and listening thanks to its disregard for the canon and its dedication to making esoteric genres accessible. I appreciate your readership, and I hope that you choose to participate!

PROMOS: I only accept physical promos, not downloads. If you believe your music fits my site, please send your tapes/CDs/vinyl to:

KILLED in CARS
2644 N 192nd Terrace Ct
Apt #3A
Elkhorn, NE 68022

Close

Blog

Previous Next
Blue - Mexican Church (Emissions Audio Output, 1996) NHK - Unununium (Raster-Noton, 2008) Ricardo Villalobos - Thé au Harem d’Archimède (Perlon, 2004) Photek - Modus Operandi (Science, 1997)Child’s View - Funfair (Bubble Core, 1999)
Given the dramatic shift in this blog towards a wide range of electronic music, it’s sort of surprising that the original iteration of the site had, by my estimation, maybe two dozen electronic releases. This post, another in a long line of “multiple posts,” collects a few of those releases along with very temporary uploads. Click the album title to snag each.Each of these is a good record, with two of them (Blue and Child’s View) being contributions from other writers (Doc and Alex, respectively). They’re altogether “lighter” (read: more fun, not dumber) that what gets posted to the site nowadays. They’re either breakbeat songs, more or less, drum & bass and glitch genre exercises (in the case of Photek and NHK), or a slight variation on house (for RV).Anyway, these are the slim pickings that support what’s become almost an electronic subgenre blog (juke, industrial techno, etc.). The links will last about a week, so check them out.
Zoom Info
Blue - Mexican Church (Emissions Audio Output, 1996) NHK - Unununium (Raster-Noton, 2008) Ricardo Villalobos - Thé au Harem d’Archimède (Perlon, 2004) Photek - Modus Operandi (Science, 1997)Child’s View - Funfair (Bubble Core, 1999)
Given the dramatic shift in this blog towards a wide range of electronic music, it’s sort of surprising that the original iteration of the site had, by my estimation, maybe two dozen electronic releases. This post, another in a long line of “multiple posts,” collects a few of those releases along with very temporary uploads. Click the album title to snag each.Each of these is a good record, with two of them (Blue and Child’s View) being contributions from other writers (Doc and Alex, respectively). They’re altogether “lighter” (read: more fun, not dumber) that what gets posted to the site nowadays. They’re either breakbeat songs, more or less, drum & bass and glitch genre exercises (in the case of Photek and NHK), or a slight variation on house (for RV).Anyway, these are the slim pickings that support what’s become almost an electronic subgenre blog (juke, industrial techno, etc.). The links will last about a week, so check them out.
Zoom Info
Blue - Mexican Church (Emissions Audio Output, 1996) NHK - Unununium (Raster-Noton, 2008) Ricardo Villalobos - Thé au Harem d’Archimède (Perlon, 2004) Photek - Modus Operandi (Science, 1997)Child’s View - Funfair (Bubble Core, 1999)
Given the dramatic shift in this blog towards a wide range of electronic music, it’s sort of surprising that the original iteration of the site had, by my estimation, maybe two dozen electronic releases. This post, another in a long line of “multiple posts,” collects a few of those releases along with very temporary uploads. Click the album title to snag each.Each of these is a good record, with two of them (Blue and Child’s View) being contributions from other writers (Doc and Alex, respectively). They’re altogether “lighter” (read: more fun, not dumber) that what gets posted to the site nowadays. They’re either breakbeat songs, more or less, drum & bass and glitch genre exercises (in the case of Photek and NHK), or a slight variation on house (for RV).Anyway, these are the slim pickings that support what’s become almost an electronic subgenre blog (juke, industrial techno, etc.). The links will last about a week, so check them out.
Zoom Info
Blue - Mexican Church (Emissions Audio Output, 1996) NHK - Unununium (Raster-Noton, 2008) Ricardo Villalobos - Thé au Harem d’Archimède (Perlon, 2004) Photek - Modus Operandi (Science, 1997)Child’s View - Funfair (Bubble Core, 1999)
Given the dramatic shift in this blog towards a wide range of electronic music, it’s sort of surprising that the original iteration of the site had, by my estimation, maybe two dozen electronic releases. This post, another in a long line of “multiple posts,” collects a few of those releases along with very temporary uploads. Click the album title to snag each.Each of these is a good record, with two of them (Blue and Child’s View) being contributions from other writers (Doc and Alex, respectively). They’re altogether “lighter” (read: more fun, not dumber) that what gets posted to the site nowadays. They’re either breakbeat songs, more or less, drum & bass and glitch genre exercises (in the case of Photek and NHK), or a slight variation on house (for RV).Anyway, these are the slim pickings that support what’s become almost an electronic subgenre blog (juke, industrial techno, etc.). The links will last about a week, so check them out.
Zoom Info
Blue - Mexican Church (Emissions Audio Output, 1996) NHK - Unununium (Raster-Noton, 2008) Ricardo Villalobos - Thé au Harem d’Archimède (Perlon, 2004) Photek - Modus Operandi (Science, 1997)Child’s View - Funfair (Bubble Core, 1999)
Given the dramatic shift in this blog towards a wide range of electronic music, it’s sort of surprising that the original iteration of the site had, by my estimation, maybe two dozen electronic releases. This post, another in a long line of “multiple posts,” collects a few of those releases along with very temporary uploads. Click the album title to snag each.Each of these is a good record, with two of them (Blue and Child’s View) being contributions from other writers (Doc and Alex, respectively). They’re altogether “lighter” (read: more fun, not dumber) that what gets posted to the site nowadays. They’re either breakbeat songs, more or less, drum & bass and glitch genre exercises (in the case of Photek and NHK), or a slight variation on house (for RV).Anyway, these are the slim pickings that support what’s become almost an electronic subgenre blog (juke, industrial techno, etc.). The links will last about a week, so check them out.
Zoom Info

Blue - Mexican Church (Emissions Audio Output, 1996)
NHK - Unununium (Raster-Noton, 2008)
Ricardo Villalobos - Thé au Harem d’Archimède (Perlon, 2004)
Photek - Modus Operandi (Science, 1997)
Child’s View - Funfair (Bubble Core, 1999)


Given the dramatic shift in this blog towards a wide range of electronic music, it’s sort of surprising that the original iteration of the site had, by my estimation, maybe two dozen electronic releases. This post, another in a long line of “multiple posts,” collects a few of those releases along with very temporary uploads. Click the album title to snag each.

Each of these is a good record, with two of them (Blue and Child’s View) being contributions from other writers (Doc and Alex, respectively). They’re altogether “lighter” (read: more fun, not dumber) that what gets posted to the site nowadays. They’re either breakbeat songs, more or less, drum & bass and glitch genre exercises (in the case of Photek and NHK), or a slight variation on house (for RV).

Anyway, these are the slim pickings that support what’s become almost an electronic subgenre blog (juke, industrial techno, etc.). The links will last about a week, so check them out.

'Archive 2007-2008' represents the activities of the Seoul-based Relay collective, a small but extremely focused group of improvisers active between 2005 and 2008. Initially performing to a very select audience on an entirely DIY, unsupported basis, the liner notes acknowledge Relay member Ryu Hankil's efforts to secure funding from the then South Korean government, after which the collective was able to shift away from its seemingly insular focus towards forging links with kindred spirits from Japan and Europe, including big-hitters such as Otomo Yoshihide and John Butcher. Since disbanding, key members of Relay have broadened their audience further through performances in mainland Europe, New York and London.Relay’s modus operandi was to create new instruments by modifying old pieces of technology – Choi Joonyong’s deconstructed playback devices (old tape players, radios, mobile phones and the like), Jin Sangtae’s manipulated computer hard drives, Ryu Hankil’s clockwork parts and speakers and Hong Chulki’s cartridge-less turntables (along with expat Seoul resident Joe Foster’s trumpet with delay pedal) typify the approach, and are the most prolific contributors here. While the new technology of which South Korea is a renowned hub is also put to some use – obsolete junk sharing the stage with state-of-the-art laptops – the emphasis is more on the analogue sounds rather than their digital treatments.The resulting music has an ostensibly austere aesthetic which could superficially be placed within the ‘minimalist’ or ‘noise’ genres, but on closer listening neither label is adequate. The Relay players have developed an impressive array of improvisational strategies which sets their music apart from any one particular improv camp: significant buildups of layered noise abruptly cut to silence before more spacious material is introduced; soft, sustained tones are juxtaposed against the oscillating whirrs and clicks generated by the hardware; repeated or completely static ideas are allowed to cohabit with irrational gestures; forensic attention to the most minute of sonic detail is off-set by an extreme appreciation of space; there are glitchy, aggressive and highly interactive exchanges here too.Alongside the Relay improvisers there are several guest appearances, from the local through neighbouring Japan to mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Seoul resident Bonnie Jones forms the duo English with Joe Foster, while Iida Katsuaki adds spoken word to the end of one piece with regular collaborator Hankil (check out their ‘Selected Poems with Clockwork’ on the Manual label). Toshimaru Nakamura contributes his ‘no-input mixing board’, a way of producing and manipulating feedback, to a stunning duo with Park Seungjun, one of the most impressive tracks on show. Berlin-based clarinettist Kai Fagaschinski makes a visit, pitting his harsh altissimo squeals and soft multiphonics against the white noise of Joonyong and Chulki’s hardware. Laptopists Dieb13, Klaus Filip and Noid of Vienna-based collective Klingt (www.klingt.org) also appear, fitting so neatly into the Relay aesthetic that their contributions aren’t easily separable from those of the regulars. By contrast, Mats Gustafsson’s appearance on baritone saxophone begins with a 5-minute blast of his trademark overblowing, way on top of the group sound; Sangtae and Joonyong respond in kind, building up the most dense accumulation of noise in the entire set with little assistance from their guest, before the three arrive at a sustained, breathy consensus.While the various duos and trios that constitute the majority of ‘Archive 2007-2008’ demonstrate the full range of Relay’s collective vocabulary, in the two larger ensemble tracks which bookend the collection (a quintet and a 10-piece respectively) reduction is key. The opening quintet piece results in significantly less sound than any of the duos or trios; the concept is then taken to extremes in the large ensemble closer: several minutes pass before any of the 10 participants even make a sound, and even then the interventions last only a few seconds, presumably the outcome of some pre-performance discussion.Aside from the variety of improvisational approaches on show here and the interest generated by how the sounds are actually produced, these recordings are simply really refreshing. They have at least as much to do with the joy of exploring sound as they do with more cerebral concerns, and add up to a fascinating document of a completely unique scene, the key artists of which continue to plough their respective furrows.  Mark Hanslip
Zoom Info
'Archive 2007-2008' represents the activities of the Seoul-based Relay collective, a small but extremely focused group of improvisers active between 2005 and 2008. Initially performing to a very select audience on an entirely DIY, unsupported basis, the liner notes acknowledge Relay member Ryu Hankil's efforts to secure funding from the then South Korean government, after which the collective was able to shift away from its seemingly insular focus towards forging links with kindred spirits from Japan and Europe, including big-hitters such as Otomo Yoshihide and John Butcher. Since disbanding, key members of Relay have broadened their audience further through performances in mainland Europe, New York and London.Relay’s modus operandi was to create new instruments by modifying old pieces of technology – Choi Joonyong’s deconstructed playback devices (old tape players, radios, mobile phones and the like), Jin Sangtae’s manipulated computer hard drives, Ryu Hankil’s clockwork parts and speakers and Hong Chulki’s cartridge-less turntables (along with expat Seoul resident Joe Foster’s trumpet with delay pedal) typify the approach, and are the most prolific contributors here. While the new technology of which South Korea is a renowned hub is also put to some use – obsolete junk sharing the stage with state-of-the-art laptops – the emphasis is more on the analogue sounds rather than their digital treatments.The resulting music has an ostensibly austere aesthetic which could superficially be placed within the ‘minimalist’ or ‘noise’ genres, but on closer listening neither label is adequate. The Relay players have developed an impressive array of improvisational strategies which sets their music apart from any one particular improv camp: significant buildups of layered noise abruptly cut to silence before more spacious material is introduced; soft, sustained tones are juxtaposed against the oscillating whirrs and clicks generated by the hardware; repeated or completely static ideas are allowed to cohabit with irrational gestures; forensic attention to the most minute of sonic detail is off-set by an extreme appreciation of space; there are glitchy, aggressive and highly interactive exchanges here too.Alongside the Relay improvisers there are several guest appearances, from the local through neighbouring Japan to mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Seoul resident Bonnie Jones forms the duo English with Joe Foster, while Iida Katsuaki adds spoken word to the end of one piece with regular collaborator Hankil (check out their ‘Selected Poems with Clockwork’ on the Manual label). Toshimaru Nakamura contributes his ‘no-input mixing board’, a way of producing and manipulating feedback, to a stunning duo with Park Seungjun, one of the most impressive tracks on show. Berlin-based clarinettist Kai Fagaschinski makes a visit, pitting his harsh altissimo squeals and soft multiphonics against the white noise of Joonyong and Chulki’s hardware. Laptopists Dieb13, Klaus Filip and Noid of Vienna-based collective Klingt (www.klingt.org) also appear, fitting so neatly into the Relay aesthetic that their contributions aren’t easily separable from those of the regulars. By contrast, Mats Gustafsson’s appearance on baritone saxophone begins with a 5-minute blast of his trademark overblowing, way on top of the group sound; Sangtae and Joonyong respond in kind, building up the most dense accumulation of noise in the entire set with little assistance from their guest, before the three arrive at a sustained, breathy consensus.While the various duos and trios that constitute the majority of ‘Archive 2007-2008’ demonstrate the full range of Relay’s collective vocabulary, in the two larger ensemble tracks which bookend the collection (a quintet and a 10-piece respectively) reduction is key. The opening quintet piece results in significantly less sound than any of the duos or trios; the concept is then taken to extremes in the large ensemble closer: several minutes pass before any of the 10 participants even make a sound, and even then the interventions last only a few seconds, presumably the outcome of some pre-performance discussion.Aside from the variety of improvisational approaches on show here and the interest generated by how the sounds are actually produced, these recordings are simply really refreshing. They have at least as much to do with the joy of exploring sound as they do with more cerebral concerns, and add up to a fascinating document of a completely unique scene, the key artists of which continue to plough their respective furrows.  Mark Hanslip
Zoom Info
'Archive 2007-2008' represents the activities of the Seoul-based Relay collective, a small but extremely focused group of improvisers active between 2005 and 2008. Initially performing to a very select audience on an entirely DIY, unsupported basis, the liner notes acknowledge Relay member Ryu Hankil's efforts to secure funding from the then South Korean government, after which the collective was able to shift away from its seemingly insular focus towards forging links with kindred spirits from Japan and Europe, including big-hitters such as Otomo Yoshihide and John Butcher. Since disbanding, key members of Relay have broadened their audience further through performances in mainland Europe, New York and London.Relay’s modus operandi was to create new instruments by modifying old pieces of technology – Choi Joonyong’s deconstructed playback devices (old tape players, radios, mobile phones and the like), Jin Sangtae’s manipulated computer hard drives, Ryu Hankil’s clockwork parts and speakers and Hong Chulki’s cartridge-less turntables (along with expat Seoul resident Joe Foster’s trumpet with delay pedal) typify the approach, and are the most prolific contributors here. While the new technology of which South Korea is a renowned hub is also put to some use – obsolete junk sharing the stage with state-of-the-art laptops – the emphasis is more on the analogue sounds rather than their digital treatments.The resulting music has an ostensibly austere aesthetic which could superficially be placed within the ‘minimalist’ or ‘noise’ genres, but on closer listening neither label is adequate. The Relay players have developed an impressive array of improvisational strategies which sets their music apart from any one particular improv camp: significant buildups of layered noise abruptly cut to silence before more spacious material is introduced; soft, sustained tones are juxtaposed against the oscillating whirrs and clicks generated by the hardware; repeated or completely static ideas are allowed to cohabit with irrational gestures; forensic attention to the most minute of sonic detail is off-set by an extreme appreciation of space; there are glitchy, aggressive and highly interactive exchanges here too.Alongside the Relay improvisers there are several guest appearances, from the local through neighbouring Japan to mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Seoul resident Bonnie Jones forms the duo English with Joe Foster, while Iida Katsuaki adds spoken word to the end of one piece with regular collaborator Hankil (check out their ‘Selected Poems with Clockwork’ on the Manual label). Toshimaru Nakamura contributes his ‘no-input mixing board’, a way of producing and manipulating feedback, to a stunning duo with Park Seungjun, one of the most impressive tracks on show. Berlin-based clarinettist Kai Fagaschinski makes a visit, pitting his harsh altissimo squeals and soft multiphonics against the white noise of Joonyong and Chulki’s hardware. Laptopists Dieb13, Klaus Filip and Noid of Vienna-based collective Klingt (www.klingt.org) also appear, fitting so neatly into the Relay aesthetic that their contributions aren’t easily separable from those of the regulars. By contrast, Mats Gustafsson’s appearance on baritone saxophone begins with a 5-minute blast of his trademark overblowing, way on top of the group sound; Sangtae and Joonyong respond in kind, building up the most dense accumulation of noise in the entire set with little assistance from their guest, before the three arrive at a sustained, breathy consensus.While the various duos and trios that constitute the majority of ‘Archive 2007-2008’ demonstrate the full range of Relay’s collective vocabulary, in the two larger ensemble tracks which bookend the collection (a quintet and a 10-piece respectively) reduction is key. The opening quintet piece results in significantly less sound than any of the duos or trios; the concept is then taken to extremes in the large ensemble closer: several minutes pass before any of the 10 participants even make a sound, and even then the interventions last only a few seconds, presumably the outcome of some pre-performance discussion.Aside from the variety of improvisational approaches on show here and the interest generated by how the sounds are actually produced, these recordings are simply really refreshing. They have at least as much to do with the joy of exploring sound as they do with more cerebral concerns, and add up to a fascinating document of a completely unique scene, the key artists of which continue to plough their respective furrows.  Mark Hanslip
Zoom Info

'Archive 2007-2008' represents the activities of the Seoul-based Relay collective, a small but extremely focused group of improvisers active between 2005 and 2008. Initially performing to a very select audience on an entirely DIY, unsupported basis, the liner notes acknowledge Relay member Ryu Hankil's efforts to secure funding from the then South Korean government, after which the collective was able to shift away from its seemingly insular focus towards forging links with kindred spirits from Japan and Europe, including big-hitters such as Otomo Yoshihide and John Butcher. Since disbanding, key members of Relay have broadened their audience further through performances in mainland Europe, New York and London.

Relay’s modus operandi was to create new instruments by modifying old pieces of technology – Choi Joonyong’s deconstructed playback devices (old tape players, radios, mobile phones and the like), Jin Sangtae’s manipulated computer hard drives, Ryu Hankil’s clockwork parts and speakers and Hong Chulki’s cartridge-less turntables (along with expat Seoul resident Joe Foster’s trumpet with delay pedal) typify the approach, and are the most prolific contributors here. While the new technology of which South Korea is a renowned hub is also put to some use – obsolete junk sharing the stage with state-of-the-art laptops – the emphasis is more on the analogue sounds rather than their digital treatments.

The resulting music has an ostensibly austere aesthetic which could superficially be placed within the ‘minimalist’ or ‘noise’ genres, but on closer listening neither label is adequate. The Relay players have developed an impressive array of improvisational strategies which sets their music apart from any one particular improv camp: significant buildups of layered noise abruptly cut to silence before more spacious material is introduced; soft, sustained tones are juxtaposed against the oscillating whirrs and clicks generated by the hardware; repeated or completely static ideas are allowed to cohabit with irrational gestures; forensic attention to the most minute of sonic detail is off-set by an extreme appreciation of space; there are glitchy, aggressive and highly interactive exchanges here too.

Alongside the Relay improvisers there are several guest appearances, from the local through neighbouring Japan to mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Seoul resident Bonnie Jones forms the duo English with Joe Foster, while Iida Katsuaki adds spoken word to the end of one piece with regular collaborator Hankil (check out their ‘Selected Poems with Clockwork’ on the Manual label). Toshimaru Nakamura contributes his ‘no-input mixing board’, a way of producing and manipulating feedback, to a stunning duo with Park Seungjun, one of the most impressive tracks on show. Berlin-based clarinettist Kai Fagaschinski makes a visit, pitting his harsh altissimo squeals and soft multiphonics against the white noise of Joonyong and Chulki’s hardware. Laptopists Dieb13, Klaus Filip and Noid of Vienna-based collective Klingt (www.klingt.org) also appear, fitting so neatly into the Relay aesthetic that their contributions aren’t easily separable from those of the regulars. By contrast, Mats Gustafsson’s appearance on baritone saxophone begins with a 5-minute blast of his trademark overblowing, way on top of the group sound; Sangtae and Joonyong respond in kind, building up the most dense accumulation of noise in the entire set with little assistance from their guest, before the three arrive at a sustained, breathy consensus.

While the various duos and trios that constitute the majority of ‘Archive 2007-2008’ demonstrate the full range of Relay’s collective vocabulary, in the two larger ensemble tracks which bookend the collection (a quintet and a 10-piece respectively) reduction is key. The opening quintet piece results in significantly less sound than any of the duos or trios; the concept is then taken to extremes in the large ensemble closer: several minutes pass before any of the 10 participants even make a sound, and even then the interventions last only a few seconds, presumably the outcome of some pre-performance discussion.

Aside from the variety of improvisational approaches on show here and the interest generated by how the sounds are actually produced, these recordings are simply really refreshing. They have at least as much to do with the joy of exploring sound as they do with more cerebral concerns, and add up to a fascinating document of a completely unique scene, the key artists of which continue to plough their respective furrows.  

Mark Hanslip


True Detective Themes from killedincars on 8tracks Radio.
Here is a mix I made based loosely on moods I felt from True Detective. There are a few tracks in here to help define the mix, but otherwise this is a mix of some favorites that I think work as a replacement to some of the (excellent) scoring in the show. Check the tags for the artists, and enjoy!
Zoom Info

True Detective Themes from killedincars on 8tracks Radio.
Here is a mix I made based loosely on moods I felt from True Detective. There are a few tracks in here to help define the mix, but otherwise this is a mix of some favorites that I think work as a replacement to some of the (excellent) scoring in the show. Check the tags for the artists, and enjoy!
Zoom Info

True Detective Themes from killedincars on 8tracks Radio.


Here is a mix I made based loosely on moods I felt from True Detective. There are a few tracks in here to help define the mix, but otherwise this is a mix of some favorites that I think work as a replacement to some of the (excellent) scoring in the show. Check the tags for the artists, and enjoy!

Matthew Dotson - Sublimation

I suspect that most music reviewers are aficionados of other good reviewers, and a big part of my musical news comes through some of my favorite creative music advocates/writers like “Strauss” at Tiny Mix Tapes/Cerberus. A little less than a year ago, I read his review of Matthew Dotson’s “Excavation,” and was intrigued enough to order the tape, which indeed lives up to its glowing review. Since then, Dotson has released a pair of cassettes through Chicago’s Already Dead Tapes, including the recent “Sublimation.”

Over the course of three tapes, Matthew Dotson’s music has moved increasingly toward the “vaporwave” movement, using fragments of muzak-y pop culture aural effluvium as sound sources, but the way he handles musical materials feels wholly different than most folks associated with vaporwave. At least in my cultural circles, I’ve heard vaporwave dismissed as a product of hastily-prolific hipster fine arts nonsense, and I’ve heard it lauded as a critique of corporate culture constructed from its own remnants. What these seemingly opposite camps have in common is a tendency to dissect the genre through literary, visual art, or sociopolitical lenses—it’s rarely discussed in musical terms. And frankly, a lot of vaporwave strikes my ears as vague, musically lackadaisical, or downright boring on strictly musical merits.

I find Dotson’s approach far more musically interesting than most vaporwavers, and I wasn’t surprised to find that he’s studied composition at the doctoral level. While this music can certainly abide discussion in terms of conceptual transformation or post-capitalist material repurposing, it also works as proficiently-composed music, balanced and varied and dynamic in all of the right places for a pure listening experience that doesn’t require extramusical apologetics.

And Dotson is really good at selecting names for his recordings: “Sublimation” in the Freudian sense is a perfect one-word description of the potential higher-order musical implications of vaporwave, taking vintage musical idioms mostly regarded as untoward or “lame” and re-using their raw materials toward a more transcendent whole. In contrast, the earlier “Excavation” tape really does feel like an excavation, unearthing deep cuts and exotic sources and bringing them into a musical light, and the first recording for Already Dead Tapes, “Revolution/Circumvention,” starts to flirt with the musical materials one associates with vaporwave without going all the way.

"Sublimation" is presented as 2 sides of audio, but the A-side feels like a 2-movement idea to me, while the B-side contains 6 shorter ideas that aren’t necessarily closely related. On the A-side, the first "movement" keeps percussion sounds going throughout, staying in a fairly narrow range of mid-tempo samples. While this kind of production has dance music/mixtape qualities, there’s a formal structure at work here that balances the piece: For example, the first fully-orchestrated set of materials that arise from some clean-sounding 80s guitar at the beginning of the side return around the 10:00 mark to constitute a sort of thematic restatement at its end. In between, my ears were drawn to how voice and guitar samples get recontextualized with a variety of very musical contrasts. There is a very simple guitar part, for example, one simple note that’s picked and followed by a downslide, that first appears atop a "chopped and screwed" (dramatically slowed down) rhythm bed, and it reappears later over a more real-time passage alongside a melodically moving synth line, turning the guitar into more of a harmonic pedal point mechanism than the kind of rhythmic accent role it had earlier. In terms of vocal fragments, Dotson seems to be drawing attention to the kinds of melodic shapes and exaggerated vibrato one finds at climactic moments in upbeat pop tunes while avoiding their original word content.

The shorter piece at the end of the A-side starts with a kind of ominous cinematic flourish and settles into an adagio pulse of synths and vocals for a couple of minutes, and then it becomes an uptempo rhythmic workout racing to the end, with almost industrial textures in the rhythms (though classic early techno synth-handclaps are there to remind you of previous origins). Finally, it settles into some very quieter chopped/screwed 80s balladry, followed by even softer recapitulation of some segments of the earlier cinematic-ish samples at the opening of the “movement.” This piece has an especially wide dynamic range that follows a classic dramatic arc.

I find myself musically more into the variety of ideas that make up the B-side. The first segment is a relatively short passage, taking some wind sounds and sustained synth-bell tones into a wickedly dense fog of distortion for a couple of haunting minutes. That’s followed by an almost 60s-ish section peeking through some phase and distortion effects, eventually settling into a kind of portatone percussion-meets-Art Bell-commercial-break-bassline, where a clavichord eventually steals the bass ostinato line away for itself. Skipping ahead, the last two sections are my favorite, with some reversed sounds, short percussion samples with tight delays, and a gentle synth/string figure that eventually dissolves into solo piano lines that are EQ’ed into a hushed oblivion at the end of the piece.

Already Dead makes very small editions of some tapes (50 in the case of “Sublimation”), so if you want to track this down, hit them up here or here as soon as you can. And be sure to check out Dotson’s Bandcamp page, too, as he still has copies of his self-released “Excavation” cassette available, a much-loved tape at Words on Sounds.

—Scott Scholz
Zoom Info
Matthew Dotson - Sublimation

I suspect that most music reviewers are aficionados of other good reviewers, and a big part of my musical news comes through some of my favorite creative music advocates/writers like “Strauss” at Tiny Mix Tapes/Cerberus. A little less than a year ago, I read his review of Matthew Dotson’s “Excavation,” and was intrigued enough to order the tape, which indeed lives up to its glowing review. Since then, Dotson has released a pair of cassettes through Chicago’s Already Dead Tapes, including the recent “Sublimation.”

Over the course of three tapes, Matthew Dotson’s music has moved increasingly toward the “vaporwave” movement, using fragments of muzak-y pop culture aural effluvium as sound sources, but the way he handles musical materials feels wholly different than most folks associated with vaporwave. At least in my cultural circles, I’ve heard vaporwave dismissed as a product of hastily-prolific hipster fine arts nonsense, and I’ve heard it lauded as a critique of corporate culture constructed from its own remnants. What these seemingly opposite camps have in common is a tendency to dissect the genre through literary, visual art, or sociopolitical lenses—it’s rarely discussed in musical terms. And frankly, a lot of vaporwave strikes my ears as vague, musically lackadaisical, or downright boring on strictly musical merits.

I find Dotson’s approach far more musically interesting than most vaporwavers, and I wasn’t surprised to find that he’s studied composition at the doctoral level. While this music can certainly abide discussion in terms of conceptual transformation or post-capitalist material repurposing, it also works as proficiently-composed music, balanced and varied and dynamic in all of the right places for a pure listening experience that doesn’t require extramusical apologetics.

And Dotson is really good at selecting names for his recordings: “Sublimation” in the Freudian sense is a perfect one-word description of the potential higher-order musical implications of vaporwave, taking vintage musical idioms mostly regarded as untoward or “lame” and re-using their raw materials toward a more transcendent whole. In contrast, the earlier “Excavation” tape really does feel like an excavation, unearthing deep cuts and exotic sources and bringing them into a musical light, and the first recording for Already Dead Tapes, “Revolution/Circumvention,” starts to flirt with the musical materials one associates with vaporwave without going all the way.

"Sublimation" is presented as 2 sides of audio, but the A-side feels like a 2-movement idea to me, while the B-side contains 6 shorter ideas that aren’t necessarily closely related. On the A-side, the first "movement" keeps percussion sounds going throughout, staying in a fairly narrow range of mid-tempo samples. While this kind of production has dance music/mixtape qualities, there’s a formal structure at work here that balances the piece: For example, the first fully-orchestrated set of materials that arise from some clean-sounding 80s guitar at the beginning of the side return around the 10:00 mark to constitute a sort of thematic restatement at its end. In between, my ears were drawn to how voice and guitar samples get recontextualized with a variety of very musical contrasts. There is a very simple guitar part, for example, one simple note that’s picked and followed by a downslide, that first appears atop a "chopped and screwed" (dramatically slowed down) rhythm bed, and it reappears later over a more real-time passage alongside a melodically moving synth line, turning the guitar into more of a harmonic pedal point mechanism than the kind of rhythmic accent role it had earlier. In terms of vocal fragments, Dotson seems to be drawing attention to the kinds of melodic shapes and exaggerated vibrato one finds at climactic moments in upbeat pop tunes while avoiding their original word content.

The shorter piece at the end of the A-side starts with a kind of ominous cinematic flourish and settles into an adagio pulse of synths and vocals for a couple of minutes, and then it becomes an uptempo rhythmic workout racing to the end, with almost industrial textures in the rhythms (though classic early techno synth-handclaps are there to remind you of previous origins). Finally, it settles into some very quieter chopped/screwed 80s balladry, followed by even softer recapitulation of some segments of the earlier cinematic-ish samples at the opening of the “movement.” This piece has an especially wide dynamic range that follows a classic dramatic arc.

I find myself musically more into the variety of ideas that make up the B-side. The first segment is a relatively short passage, taking some wind sounds and sustained synth-bell tones into a wickedly dense fog of distortion for a couple of haunting minutes. That’s followed by an almost 60s-ish section peeking through some phase and distortion effects, eventually settling into a kind of portatone percussion-meets-Art Bell-commercial-break-bassline, where a clavichord eventually steals the bass ostinato line away for itself. Skipping ahead, the last two sections are my favorite, with some reversed sounds, short percussion samples with tight delays, and a gentle synth/string figure that eventually dissolves into solo piano lines that are EQ’ed into a hushed oblivion at the end of the piece.

Already Dead makes very small editions of some tapes (50 in the case of “Sublimation”), so if you want to track this down, hit them up here or here as soon as you can. And be sure to check out Dotson’s Bandcamp page, too, as he still has copies of his self-released “Excavation” cassette available, a much-loved tape at Words on Sounds.

—Scott Scholz
Zoom Info

Matthew Dotson - Sublimation

I suspect that most music reviewers are aficionados of other good reviewers, and a big part of my musical news comes through some of my favorite creative music advocates/writers like “Strauss” at Tiny Mix Tapes/Cerberus. A little less than a year ago, I read his review of Matthew Dotson’s “Excavation,” and was intrigued enough to order the tape, which indeed lives up to its glowing review. Since then, Dotson has released a pair of cassettes through Chicago’s Already Dead Tapes, including the recent “Sublimation.”

Over the course of three tapes, Matthew Dotson’s music has moved increasingly toward the “vaporwave” movement, using fragments of muzak-y pop culture aural effluvium as sound sources, but the way he handles musical materials feels wholly different than most folks associated with vaporwave. At least in my cultural circles, I’ve heard vaporwave dismissed as a product of hastily-prolific hipster fine arts nonsense, and I’ve heard it lauded as a critique of corporate culture constructed from its own remnants. What these seemingly opposite camps have in common is a tendency to dissect the genre through literary, visual art, or sociopolitical lenses—it’s rarely discussed in musical terms. And frankly, a lot of vaporwave strikes my ears as vague, musically lackadaisical, or downright boring on strictly musical merits.

I find Dotson’s approach far more musically interesting than most vaporwavers, and I wasn’t surprised to find that he’s studied composition at the doctoral level. While this music can certainly abide discussion in terms of conceptual transformation or post-capitalist material repurposing, it also works as proficiently-composed music, balanced and varied and dynamic in all of the right places for a pure listening experience that doesn’t require extramusical apologetics.

And Dotson is really good at selecting names for his recordings: “Sublimation” in the Freudian sense is a perfect one-word description of the potential higher-order musical implications of vaporwave, taking vintage musical idioms mostly regarded as untoward or “lame” and re-using their raw materials toward a more transcendent whole. In contrast, the earlier “Excavation” tape really does feel like an excavation, unearthing deep cuts and exotic sources and bringing them into a musical light, and the first recording for Already Dead Tapes, “Revolution/Circumvention,” starts to flirt with the musical materials one associates with vaporwave without going all the way.

"Sublimation" is presented as 2 sides of audio, but the A-side feels like a 2-movement idea to me, while the B-side contains 6 shorter ideas that aren’t necessarily closely related. On the A-side, the first "movement" keeps percussion sounds going throughout, staying in a fairly narrow range of mid-tempo samples. While this kind of production has dance music/mixtape qualities, there’s a formal structure at work here that balances the piece: For example, the first fully-orchestrated set of materials that arise from some clean-sounding 80s guitar at the beginning of the side return around the 10:00 mark to constitute a sort of thematic restatement at its end. In between, my ears were drawn to how voice and guitar samples get recontextualized with a variety of very musical contrasts. There is a very simple guitar part, for example, one simple note that’s picked and followed by a downslide, that first appears atop a "chopped and screwed" (dramatically slowed down) rhythm bed, and it reappears later over a more real-time passage alongside a melodically moving synth line, turning the guitar into more of a harmonic pedal point mechanism than the kind of rhythmic accent role it had earlier. In terms of vocal fragments, Dotson seems to be drawing attention to the kinds of melodic shapes and exaggerated vibrato one finds at climactic moments in upbeat pop tunes while avoiding their original word content.

The shorter piece at the end of the A-side starts with a kind of ominous cinematic flourish and settles into an adagio pulse of synths and vocals for a couple of minutes, and then it becomes an uptempo rhythmic workout racing to the end, with almost industrial textures in the rhythms (though classic early techno synth-handclaps are there to remind you of previous origins). Finally, it settles into some very quieter chopped/screwed 80s balladry, followed by even softer recapitulation of some segments of the earlier cinematic-ish samples at the opening of the “movement.” This piece has an especially wide dynamic range that follows a classic dramatic arc.

I find myself musically more into the variety of ideas that make up the B-side. The first segment is a relatively short passage, taking some wind sounds and sustained synth-bell tones into a wickedly dense fog of distortion for a couple of haunting minutes. That’s followed by an almost 60s-ish section peeking through some phase and distortion effects, eventually settling into a kind of portatone percussion-meets-Art Bell-commercial-break-bassline, where a clavichord eventually steals the bass ostinato line away for itself. Skipping ahead, the last two sections are my favorite, with some reversed sounds, short percussion samples with tight delays, and a gentle synth/string figure that eventually dissolves into solo piano lines that are EQ’ed into a hushed oblivion at the end of the piece.

Already Dead makes very small editions of some tapes (50 in the case of “Sublimation”), so if you want to track this down, hit them up here or here as soon as you can. And be sure to check out Dotson’s Bandcamp page, too, as he still has copies of his self-released “Excavation” cassette available, a much-loved tape at Words on Sounds.

—Scott Scholz

xku asked:

hello, i really enjoy your music reccomendations but i also like your mixes on 8tracks a lot. i discovered KiC (and all kind of music genres/artists i had never heard of, too!! I'M SO THANKFUL!!) through the supernatural fanmix you made. i was wondering if you were going to make more mixes with themes (of any kind) someday... thanks for your great work anyway...

I answered:

I’m actually working on an alternate mix for True Detective.

Chuck Bettis - ‘Community of Commotion’ (North East Indie) (2005) The ‘lone improviser-plus-array-of-friends’ album format is frequently a winner, representing a shortcut to both variety and cohesion – Rafael Toral’s Space Elements Vol II, Fred Lonberg-Holm’s ‘Site Specific’ and numerous showcases from the Emanem label come to mind. In ‘Community of Commotion’, laptop/vocal improviser/composer Chuck Bettis made full use of the concept and added a fair dollop of post-production to produce a bewilderingly varied but coherent offering.The musical community referred to in the title is that of downtown New York, Bettis having previously graduated from the Baltimore new music scene before making the big move; he has since worked with Fred Frith, Jamie Saft and John Zorn among other key downtown figures, several of whom appear on this record. It’s a sign of his knack for the sometimes tricky art of genuine collaboration - as well as his obvious facility and sensitivity as a laptop player - that all the guests on ‘Community of Commotion’ are given space to do their thing, with Bettis often assuming a supportive role on an instrument that can so easily dominate. Not to suggest that he’s a shrinking violet though – this is an album with its maker’s mark all over it.Although the NY downtown scene’s genre-mashing ethos can be heard everywhere here – it’s difficult to imagine that this record could have been made anywhere else - Bettis’ approach to genre had less to do with Zorn’s cut-and-paste juxtaposition and more to do with co-habitation: Colleen Kinsella’s beautifully naïve vocals - alternating simple, free-floating melodies with spoken word - and Melissa Ip’s incongruously matter-of-fact poetry reading – check the subject matter – are layered with sympathetic laptop textures (‘Playful Moaner’ and ‘Bleeding Orphan’); a quasi-military drum n’ bass beat reminiscent of Plug-era Luke Vibert underpins Mick Barr’s high-neck guitar shred and Bettis’ guttural vocals (‘Atheist Revolt’); a Bhangra-ish beat is fused with Jerry Lim’s squidgy analogue synths, straight out of Detroit techno (‘Deathmetal Dancehall’); Gregorian-esque singing sits alongside Audrey Chen’s frantic bowed cello (‘Angry Rainbow’). There are moments of improv purity too: on ‘Mood Orifice’ Bettis goes toe-to-toe with undisputed laptop queen Ikue Mori with surprisingly delicate results, and ‘Sleep Terets’ is a raw and roomy duet with veteran downtown drummer Tim Barnes.If all this sounds fairly dark and dystopian, it is: only the half-demented, childlike vocals on opener ‘Playful Moaner’, and the dance-y, 50 second intro to closing track ‘Motion Narcolepsy’, which wouldn’t be out of place on a Ninja Tune record, could be described as upbeat. Even the djembe-fuelled world music mashup of ‘Doumbek Chanter’ sounds urbanised and forbidding.That’s not a gripe though: Chuck Bettis made an extraordinary record in which all the genre-bending, the cast of distinctive and distinguished collaborators and the yinyang of overarching vision and communal collaboration add up to something special.

- Mark
Zoom Info
Chuck Bettis - ‘Community of Commotion’ (North East Indie) (2005) The ‘lone improviser-plus-array-of-friends’ album format is frequently a winner, representing a shortcut to both variety and cohesion – Rafael Toral’s Space Elements Vol II, Fred Lonberg-Holm’s ‘Site Specific’ and numerous showcases from the Emanem label come to mind. In ‘Community of Commotion’, laptop/vocal improviser/composer Chuck Bettis made full use of the concept and added a fair dollop of post-production to produce a bewilderingly varied but coherent offering.The musical community referred to in the title is that of downtown New York, Bettis having previously graduated from the Baltimore new music scene before making the big move; he has since worked with Fred Frith, Jamie Saft and John Zorn among other key downtown figures, several of whom appear on this record. It’s a sign of his knack for the sometimes tricky art of genuine collaboration - as well as his obvious facility and sensitivity as a laptop player - that all the guests on ‘Community of Commotion’ are given space to do their thing, with Bettis often assuming a supportive role on an instrument that can so easily dominate. Not to suggest that he’s a shrinking violet though – this is an album with its maker’s mark all over it.Although the NY downtown scene’s genre-mashing ethos can be heard everywhere here – it’s difficult to imagine that this record could have been made anywhere else - Bettis’ approach to genre had less to do with Zorn’s cut-and-paste juxtaposition and more to do with co-habitation: Colleen Kinsella’s beautifully naïve vocals - alternating simple, free-floating melodies with spoken word - and Melissa Ip’s incongruously matter-of-fact poetry reading – check the subject matter – are layered with sympathetic laptop textures (‘Playful Moaner’ and ‘Bleeding Orphan’); a quasi-military drum n’ bass beat reminiscent of Plug-era Luke Vibert underpins Mick Barr’s high-neck guitar shred and Bettis’ guttural vocals (‘Atheist Revolt’); a Bhangra-ish beat is fused with Jerry Lim’s squidgy analogue synths, straight out of Detroit techno (‘Deathmetal Dancehall’); Gregorian-esque singing sits alongside Audrey Chen’s frantic bowed cello (‘Angry Rainbow’). There are moments of improv purity too: on ‘Mood Orifice’ Bettis goes toe-to-toe with undisputed laptop queen Ikue Mori with surprisingly delicate results, and ‘Sleep Terets’ is a raw and roomy duet with veteran downtown drummer Tim Barnes.If all this sounds fairly dark and dystopian, it is: only the half-demented, childlike vocals on opener ‘Playful Moaner’, and the dance-y, 50 second intro to closing track ‘Motion Narcolepsy’, which wouldn’t be out of place on a Ninja Tune record, could be described as upbeat. Even the djembe-fuelled world music mashup of ‘Doumbek Chanter’ sounds urbanised and forbidding.That’s not a gripe though: Chuck Bettis made an extraordinary record in which all the genre-bending, the cast of distinctive and distinguished collaborators and the yinyang of overarching vision and communal collaboration add up to something special.

- Mark
Zoom Info

Chuck Bettis - ‘Community of Commotion’ (North East Indie) (2005) 

The ‘lone improviser-plus-array-of-friends’ album format is frequently a winner, representing a shortcut to both variety and cohesion – Rafael Toral’s Space Elements Vol II, Fred Lonberg-Holm’s ‘Site Specific’ and numerous showcases from the Emanem label come to mind. In ‘Community of Commotion’, laptop/vocal improviser/composer Chuck Bettis made full use of the concept and added a fair dollop of post-production to produce a bewilderingly varied but coherent offering.

The musical community referred to in the title is that of downtown New York, Bettis having previously graduated from the Baltimore new music scene before making the big move; he has since worked with Fred Frith, Jamie Saft and John Zorn among other key downtown figures, several of whom appear on this record. It’s a sign of his knack for the sometimes tricky art of genuine collaboration - as well as his obvious facility and sensitivity as a laptop player - that all the guests on ‘Community of Commotion’ are given space to do their thing, with Bettis often assuming a supportive role on an instrument that can so easily dominate. Not to suggest that he’s a shrinking violet though – this is an album with its maker’s mark all over it.

Although the NY downtown scene’s genre-mashing ethos can be heard everywhere here – it’s difficult to imagine that this record could have been made anywhere else - Bettis’ approach to genre had less to do with Zorn’s cut-and-paste juxtaposition and more to do with co-habitation: Colleen Kinsella’s beautifully naïve vocals - alternating simple, free-floating melodies with spoken word - and Melissa Ip’s incongruously matter-of-fact poetry reading – check the subject matter – are layered with sympathetic laptop textures (‘Playful Moaner’ and ‘Bleeding Orphan’); a quasi-military drum n’ bass beat reminiscent of Plug-era Luke Vibert underpins Mick Barr’s high-neck guitar shred and Bettis’ guttural vocals (‘Atheist Revolt’); a Bhangra-ish beat is fused with Jerry Lim’s squidgy analogue synths, straight out of Detroit techno (‘Deathmetal Dancehall’); Gregorian-esque singing sits alongside Audrey Chen’s frantic bowed cello (‘Angry Rainbow’). There are moments of improv purity too: on ‘Mood Orifice’ Bettis goes toe-to-toe with undisputed laptop queen Ikue Mori with surprisingly delicate results, and ‘Sleep Terets’ is a raw and roomy duet with veteran downtown drummer Tim Barnes.

If all this sounds fairly dark and dystopian, it is: only the half-demented, childlike vocals on opener ‘Playful Moaner’, and the dance-y, 50 second intro to closing track ‘Motion Narcolepsy’, which wouldn’t be out of place on a Ninja Tune record, could be described as upbeat. Even the djembe-fuelled world music mashup of ‘Doumbek Chanter’ sounds urbanised and forbidding.

That’s not a gripe though: Chuck Bettis made an extraordinary record in which all the genre-bending, the cast of distinctive and distinguished collaborators and the yinyang of overarching vision and communal collaboration add up to something special.

- Mark

Back to Top

Twitter

Previous Next
Back to Top

Ask me anything

Previous Next
Back to Top

Submit

Previous Next
Back to Top

Vanity by Pixel Union