Tuesday, December 16, 2014

RADIO SHOCK "Adapter" C60

This cassette is raw, DIY electronica that is post-nihilism noise freakout mixed with a nightclub DJ's desire to make you go crazy-go-nuts. It sounds recorded live in the studio, a technically speaking lo-fi technique used by heavy hitters like Big Black and Nirvana to exaggerate their punishing sound. I say that because there's a nice crusty edge to the recording. But in contrast to bands like Big Black or Nirvana, Radio Shock's melodies are made by rhythmically oscillating tone-ascensions. They are usually very minimal, repetitive and almost hypnotic melodies (I guess Big Black is pretty hypnotic and repetitive). The closest comparison I can make is to Veronica Vasicka's record label of 70ties and 80ties electronica, "Minimal Waves Tapes" (particularly vol. 1) but more noisy and aggressive. 3 parts disco, 1 part Hair Police if you comprehend my French. 
 
The recording sounds slightly reverberated, suggesting a room echo. Usually this is a sign of low production value; it could have very possibly been recorded with the voice memo app on an iphone 3. I know this "laissez-faire" attitude towards sharing music is somewhat out of vogue these days. But Radio Shock's Adapter has a punk attitude that a suit could never ever provide. The album's low-fi DIY recording, use of what sounds like garage sale casio keyboard beats (love the Marimba and cowbell repeats on this!) and cassette format give it an energy absent from over-produced studio albums. I'd actually rather listen to this than say a Mouse on Mars album that sounds a bit too slick and clean. Well, I wouldn't go that far. Mouse on Mars is awesome. I guess I just have a soft spot for recognizable toy keyboard beats that are being used to obliterate dance halls!

"Light Cones" is a highlight that falls close to later career Melt-Banana territory in terms of tempo and general vibe. But honestly, each song has its own particular feel so it is hard to have a favorite. From voiceover speech about thinking about the human brain as a technology to even subtle nods to Quintron-esque "Drum Buddy" sounds like on the song "Cuckoo Club", the genre of dance beat is the only constant. Things get experimental like on the song "Nitecapp". It has an electric guitar hook that is a dissonant chord repeated. It almost feels like I'm listening to grunge but it remains true to its dance noise genre by accompanying the guitar with simple drum machine beat.

The song "Apokalypticize" clocks in at 6:18 and is just tape mutilation with a looped sequence drum beat behind it that subtly changes in frequency. At times it sounds like Kraftwerk, other times like Aaron Dilloway. It's pretty wonderful party song that'll definitely make the kids dance like Charlie Brown Christmas.

I loved this cassette. I think you will too.
Throw the guy a bone! I think he lives in NYC so check it out all you lower east side steamsk8r gym rats! Raise a slice of pizza for your brother here back in Boston. This is Turnbull, over and out.
http://www.radioshock.org/

Also, here he is performing at the International Noise Conference, 2013, in Miami.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3lNhwoZWDQ#t=52

-- Jack Turnbull

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