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Laundromat Techno MP3

Kwook, with his nonsense syllable of a nom-du-MP3, knows that much as a word repeated ad nauseam becomes almost alarmingly meaningless, a sound repeated on end becomes a potent rhythm track. The self-descriptive “Washerloop,” off his four-song Immiscible EP on the One netlabel (downloadable free here), starts with a washing machine but becomes pure techno even before the light comes on to signal a call for detergent.

In part this is because your standard everyday laundromat is a natural minimal-techno engine, an armory of things that rattle as they rotate, things that being mechanical have inherent, often eccentric, rhythms, even if they do not adhere to what we think of as a proper downbeat. “Washerloop” is fine field-recording techno also because the recognizable sound elements are matched and eventually subsumed by a more artificial brand of throbbing, roiling sound.

What “Washerloop” achieves with the noise of a Sunday morning laundry session, “Apolloguiltly” does with deeply distorted vocals, virtually unintelligible, as if they’re being tapped in an aquarium. Where “Washerloop” goes for dance-floor agitation, this track beatifies its source material, ascending from the mundane concerns of the muffled conversation toward something heavenly, the come-hither voices of the Information Age sirens. “Psychopomp” achieves similarly haloed ends with more traditional instrumentation; the elegant stretch of ambience could easily be transferred to church organ.

The only disappointment on Immiscible is the opening track, a pulsing shunt of pop-minimalism with the generic spirit of a lesser Tangerine Dream score. It’s built on bland synthesized sounds, washes of silicon waves, pointillist riffs played with all-to-familiar preset tones, unearthly choral harmonies sung by eunuch androids. The rest of the EP, though, especially “Washerloop” and “Apolloguiltly,” more than make up for this misstep. (More on Kwook, aka Simon Bennet of Perth, Australia, at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , / Comment: 1 ]

One Comment

  1. Chris Hatton
    [ Posted August 24, 2009, at 7:29 am ]

    Each to their own, I found the opening track, Cloudhopper, to be one of the most deep and intense ambient grooves I have ever had the pleasure of.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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