I was introduced to Surachai via Craigslist several years ago when I needed a roommate and he needed a place to live. Living together for two years, we had plenty of opportunities to bump up against each other's musical worlds, which have very little in common. Steeped as it is in metal and out-there electronica, Surachai's musical frame of reference has almost nothing in common with mine. I find it kind of exhilarating. Surachai's own music (some of it on Spotify) features a blend of metal (he once explained to me it's technically "plague metal") and moody analog synth sounds. A true geek, he wades knee-deep in the global analog synth community (larger than you think), and produces many events and a website with his cohorts in the Trash_Audio collective. For all of his black clothing and dark humor, Surachai's innate disdain for dogma ensures that there is always more than meets the eye. In a recent chat, this black metal-loving techno-goth swooned over his latest purchase - the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music. You can pre-order/preview his forthcoming dark analog synth album Ritual on Bandcamp. A not-so-secret sweetheart and true adventurer, Surachai lives in Chicago with his girlfriend and their ridiculous boxer, Chloe.
These tracks are from standout electronic albums from the past couple years, it doesn’t really reflect what I’m listening to at the moment - that changes on a weekly basis, depending on the current obsession. For the most part, I’m choosing the "goth kid" in the albums - which are not necessarily the best representation of the albums they’re associated with.
Poemss – Ancient Pony This track isn’t really the goth kid of the album because the entire album is pretty consistent with programming and mood. Poemss is Joanne Pollock and Aaron Funk. I’ve never listened to Joanne Pollock’s music but I’ve obsessed over Aaron Funk’s Venetian Snares music to know what she brought to the table. The past few releases Venetian Snares has put out has been leading up to this beautiful synth worship album. Aggression and heavy DSP is replaced by melody and structure. Haunting and beautiful - can’t wait for more.
Grischa Lichtenberger – 0311_01_re0510_24 We interviewed Grischa Lichtenberger for TRASH_AUDIO and he interpreted our interview in a strange way that I appreciated. He sent back ramblings, an inner monologue of how he felt about the interview and how we were trying to extract knowledge from him - which he willingly shared in an abstract way. Anyways, he revealed that his tools are extremely primitive and that it comes from exploiting the little that he uses. I never would’ve guessed that was the case for his work flow, as it sounds like he’s using a ton of techniques from more than just 1-2 pieces of software.
Raime – Soil and Colts Along with Grischa’s And IV (Inertia), I sent Raime’s Quarter Turns Over a Living Line as a reference for my new record to be mastered similarly to. This is one of the best sounding albums I’ve heard in recent years. The sparseness and limited instruments are used masterfully and creates something I’ve never experienced before, sonically. For the past year or so, I’ve been using this record to test out new monitors, headphones, in-ear monitors. Oh, and actually listening to it for enjoyment.
Autechre – tac Lacora Seems like I’m one of the few that actually like the direction Autechre is heading in. The amount of material they push out is astounding and I’m into every single one. This is one of the few artists where I have no idea how or what they are using to make music and I’m fine with not knowing. Ok, not entirely true - I’ve found out a ton of their methods but never felt compelled to recreate or implement them. Either way, they’re on a level that many people aren’t even aware exists aurally.
emptyset – Disperse One of the prime examples of consistency, you hear one song from emptyset and you’ve pretty much heard all of them. Fortunately, its one of my favorite songs, and like Meshuggah, they don’t stray far from what they’ve found to be their sound. They’re exploiting it to every limitation release after release and like Raime, if you want to test out sound systems and really put a monitoring setup through its paces, emptyset is a great candidate.
Nine Inch Nails – In Two A track that shows an obvious aggression that the rest of the album dances around with its minimalism. While the other songs on the album feel like dance songs, this track just wants to kick your ass. I understand one of the themes of this album is restriction but… this works too.
Drumcell – Empty A few weeks ago, I was listening to this album at 33 1/3 RPM when it should’ve been at 45RPM. I found this particular track to be incredible slowed down and proceeded to repeat it for hours while I worked on label stuff. Someone should upload it at that speed and you’ll find yourself lost in it. The rest of the album doesn’t work so well slowed down but suggest you try it out anyway.
Drexciya – Journey Home The story about those guys is legendary. Just going to copy and paste from Wikipedia. “Although both members of Drexciya remained completely anonymous throughout their active recording career, Stinson was identified posthumously in 2002. The members of Drexciya have never been photographed, although they have given interviews, throughout one of which they wore Star Trek masks to conceal their identity”
Barnett – Switch This track stood out from the rest of the album and felt like it didn’t fit. Unfortunately, this out of place track is my favorite because of its structure and mood. The other tracks seemed to wander, not having much structure or memorable ideas, but I still listen to the album regularly just the same.
Diamond Version - Make.Believe This is one of the last tracks from their 5 EP onslaught. Probably their least straight forward and most unfriendly that I absolutely love. Apparently there is an LP in the works that I can’t wait for.