StratRes014: VLK – ‘Avril and Sean in Camden’ C53
Avril and Sean in Camden is constructed entirely out of processed sounds from a) Avril Lavigne’s debut album, and b) conservative talk-radio hosts from the mid-naughties. To draw, specifically, from precocious, Canadian, proto-emo skate-pop and far-right, moralizing, authoritarian resentment-peddlers was not arbitrary. In the summer of 2004, VLK undertook temporary employment which primarily involved being a passenger in a car that was driven around Camden, New Jersey. Though the job description was undemanding, it arose that a key responsibility for this role was to engage the driver/employer in conversation, thus enhancing the work environment (a Toyota Camry). Regretfully, it became soon evident to both parties that this personal objective would not be achieved, and the driver, activating his contingency plan, put into use his preferred auditory stimuli, i.e. conservative talk radio broadcasts and the glove compartment’s lone compact disk, Avril Lavigne’s Let’s Go. In Camden, the birthplace of modern convenience food, the home of the first Church of Scientology, a city beset by the poverty and crime not uncommon in post-industrial American small cities, VLK spent two months in silent shotgun, bombarded with the pleas from Lavigne and Hannity for simple answers to the increasingly complicated world outside of the Camry’s windows. This kind of prolonged auditory experience, one can imagine, could leave the listener with some degree of lasting psychological damage, though keeping with the spirit of the Goldwater rule, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate on this particular case. We can report that this album sees VLK connecting his conceptual sample collages to personal experience, and distilling that into a hazy, beat-heavy, absurdist electronic melange.
StratRes015: moduS ponY – ‘Phonogetic Ouch’ C22
While not entirely free of generic reference or conceptual foundation, Phonogetic Ouch leans toward the avant-garde. If there are themes to be found, they are stylistic and abstract. Phono is an exploration of rhythm, specifically that of vocal loops, on which most of the tracks are founded. Traditional compositional structures exist along side more experimental frameworks, a common pairing for moduS ponY. The production is occasionally treated the same way a DJ might treat sampled material, with effects or edits being applied to the entire master track, adding an unexpected layer of sonic reality. The term “Phonogetic” combines the root phono with the words photogenic, and diegetic (the later meaning: within the story world, typically of a movie).