Of the small stack of releases by Crawl Unit that have slowly accumulated on the shelf over the past decade, Everyone Gets What They Deserve in particular is worth revisiting regularly. Crawl Unit is the pseudonym of Joe Colley, a self-motivated, drone-oriented musician who resides in Northern California. Everyone Gets What They Deserve, released on C.I.P. Records in 1999, contains six recordings, totaling nearly an hour of cautiously layered industrial noise. The album reverses the common pop format, from whisper to scream, and instead descends from the sort of distant hum that might keep you up at night, to the kind of slightly overheard resonances that would make you shutter, if you were certain you’d heard them in the first place. The depth of Colley’s sound can best be communicated by what is not heard — that is, by the contrast between listening to this album on a pair of Walkman-style “ear buds,” and letting it play out loud on a proper stereo. “Holy Static,” the album’s opening track, is a thick chant, like some mechanistic Tuvan throat singer on autopilot. The closing track, “Flicker (Elapsing State of Grace),” makes “Holy Static” sound pastoral by comparison; it maps a sequence of sonic irritants, from a bug-like buzz to a threatening slab of white-noise, with a momentous silence somewhere in between; voices emerge at a remote distance, and eventually the quietness is threatened to be overrun by the motor in your CD player. On common small headphones, these tracks might merely sound thin and trebly, like a nearby river, or perhaps an emergency broadcast signal on a neighbor’s television. Heard aloud, so to speak — that is, on speakers at a comfortable room volume — the effect is bodily, three-dimensional. The debate over the proliferation of MP3 files has been hijacked by mere commercial concerns. Of far greater significance, one might argue, is the increasingly prevalence of poor sound quality, in MP3 files as in everyday headphones. At a time when sound quality is being ignored in favor of convenience, Joe Colley makes sound art that commands attention to details.
5 Most Recent Comments
Marc Arsenault: "Have you ever played a music box over a guitar pickup? Do it. "
reis: "Thanks Super enjoyed this atmospheric masterwork. Love your review …it gains mass detail as it moves..."
Markian Volkov: "That’s what I was wondering. Now how can I promote my music on soundcloud without groups?..."
Monsterovich: "https://soundcloud.com/losttal entgroup Join us if you want normal groups back. "
spacebox720: "Hi, I’m spacebox720 and i stumbled over your article. I really enjoyed and would like to say..."
5 Most Recent Posts
• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0247 / Waltz, Maybe / Interpret as a graphic score an illustration drawn upon waking by Lark Pien. • 0246 / Double, Quadruple, Sextuple / Compose a piece of music that increases speed in stages as it proceeds. • 0245 / Practical Music / Write a piece of music for getting things done, suitable for playing on repeat. • 0244 / Euro Mixin / The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union. • 0243 / Synth Trial / The Assignment: Share the best track from your audition tape for Blade Runner 2.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
Tags8-bit app audio-games brands of sounds chiptune classical comics copyleft field-recording film forum-digger free free download gadget generative i-hop IFTTTgram installation ios ipad iphone ipod ipod touch junto listening to yesterday live-performance modular netlabel noise recommended stream remix rock saw2for33third science-fiction score site-maintenance software sound-art sounds-of-brands this week in sound turntablism TV video video-games voice