For this particular box, inspiration came from the strangest of places – namely the showroom of the Brooklyn Ikea megacomplex sequestered into some sort of post-industrial nightmare brimming with bearded artist-types in their mid-thirties, children living the superfund dream of a post-urban childhood and the tattered remnants of the traditional Brooklynite forever immortalized through the mockery of late-’80’s Saturday Night Live. The night before I had attended The Stone for the first time, and, 10 hours after the fact, I was still blown away by the ultimate glass ceiling of the Downtown Scene. “Congratulations, you’ve made it – you’re one of us now. You are hereby invited to play our exclusive club with poor sound, bad ventilation, a snarky audience and another show right after yours, so remember to vacate immediately afterwards, because you’re not on the list for that one. Oh, by the way, did we forget to mention that the venue is smaller than your living room? Oh, whoops, sorry about that.”
…all said, there’s few things that I can say I truly hate, but among things that come close, the East Village in all it’s arrogant, ostentatious, yet horribly-deprived in terms of proper human living conditions splendor definitely comes close. Especially when coupled with the current repressive behavior of the NYPD and the whole NYC-mentality in which a murderous bloodbath could happen at any moment, triggered solely by a cascading reaction of a handful of locals deciding that enough was enough of their miserable, urban existence. Though, in that light, I guess that does kind of explain the police presence, albeit with very little actual connection to the instrument I’m trying to describe.
So yeah, morning after, Stone, bewilderment, Ikea, with the next logical step in this progression being meatballs. I have my weaknesses, one of note being the horrible, Sweden-inspired meat-products served at the snack bar portion of your flat-pack furniture safari. I chalk it up to some sort of survivalist thing – perhaps in an effort to save on overhead, big-box stores always seem to have less oxygen than required by the typical life-form who decides to consume products within – I mean, how else are you going to justify dropping $800 on the Köln mattress set with matching in-wall bookshelf and organizer, especially with a walnut finish? Lack of oxygen to the brain – exactly. So to prevent that, meatballs. With that strange berry sauce. And potatoes with tasteless gravy. And malt-flavored “celebration drink.” Regrettably, store management frowns upon you bringing your own bottle of porter to complement your meal. In this case, however, I was in no need of furniture, having put most of mine in storage at my folks’ place a year prior before zipping off to Central America, and, arriving 20 minutes prior to the lunch rush, I had to kill some time before diving into a certain lingonberry-tainted breakfast of champions without succumbing to consumer asphyxiation. That’s about when I saw it – a shining muse heaped in the corner of the clearance aisle; beckoning lovingly, caressing my neurons and saying in Siren-like clarity, “Purchase me and exploit this bargain for your own artistic gains!” What was it that I saw you ask? Uhm, yeah, that would have been a package of neon-twinged, black light responsive drawer-handles. Like I said, strangest of places. A hour later and stuffed to the gills with Scandinavian meat-paste, I was rocketing back north to begin wrenching on this creation.
So what is it? A return to form, if anything – after a year working exclusively on pedals and PCB’s, I grew a little nostalgic for point-to-point synth building, and following the fun I had applying a couple new techniques that I picked up along the way while working on Number 26, I decided to follow suit and build a couple more one-off boxes for old time’s sake. Who knows, I might even learn something new in the process. Circuitry-wise, this is an old chestnut, using modified Ciat-Lonbarde Rollz 5 oscillators and a modified resonant filter section. The result a wonky little critter capable of mouse marches and zombie gabba – not to mention some cool, glowing handles for the whole modern dream/steam punk aesthetic. I’m not so sure if I’d go as far as to call it cyberpunk, quite yet – not enough references to skateboards and rail-guns. Maybe with the proper decals, however. Not to say that is has to be punk at all, of course – all said, genres confuse me.
All sounds recorded live, directly to tape on 05.11.2012 in San José, Costa Rica.