Coupler-America In The Coming Age Of Electronics

Coupler’s America in the Coming Age of Electronics is the first solo effort from Lambchop’sRyan Norris. It’s quite a puzzle in that it manages to present itself both as an artifact of some fictional history (you’d think the Electronic Age would have arrived by 2011, no?) and post-apocalyptic planet of sound. 

There are (at least) two traits about this record that keep it special in the current tape tsunami. First, the music is a fantastic brain massage. Textures are woven as sound sculpture in three dimensional, temporal space with extraordinary dexterity. No time wasted (or overcrowded). I haven’t heard vocal-ish tones (synthesized or sampled) as warm as Norris’ melotron since Clara Rockmore’s theremin recordings ofTchaikovsky on Eno’s OHM box.

And despite this “coming age of electronics,” emotional heft is present in each mechanical breath. Amy Marcantel’s vocal melotron samples are treated enough to catch the ear with alien vowels, but without losing human warmth. John Connor and Skynet have made uneasy peace, or blown each other to bits to leave a lone android survivor singing their eulogy, all in the past’s imaginary future. Take your pick.

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