Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Pulseprogramming - All Joy and Rural Honey
Pulseprogramming - "All Joy and Rural Honey"
Pulseprogramming: two Chicagoans (Marc Hellner, Joel Kriske), two albums on Aesthetics Records, one CD of remixes, and three years of little to no activity at all. What can you assume when a group goes silent for so long? That they're really so busy in the studio that they can't update their Myspace page more than once a year, or that they just don't give a shit anymore and have moved onto different responsibilities that don't involve maintaining a reputation online? Pretty much every band makes sure to let everyone know when they've called it a day, whether we care or not. So no news is good news, right?
Self-titled 1999 album: microsoundscapes, tiny bells and clicks, a few gentle piano melodies woven into some tracks, no real vocals to speak of except for a few whispers. Definitely a surprise after the positively banging "To the Expert Eye Alone" had made it to my ears first via a magazine compilation CD. Pulseprogramming is a pretty unassuming ambient album, not the kind that gets attention from, say, indie rock fans as a token genre CD that they'll download after reading some good reviews. Not being a landmark release of any sort probably makes it guilty of being aural wallpaper to many listeners, but if you enjoy such gentle sounds then maybe this is worth your time. I've fallen asleep to this more times then I can count.
Tulsa For One Second arrived four years later, displaying a completely different sound, perhaps even more confidence on the part of Hellner and Kriske, if you're inclined to notice or imagine such intangible qualities. The same glitch-induced mellow electronics permeate each track, but this time around they resemble real songs nstead of fractured "pieces" of sound. There's more vocals, even some from Lindsay Anderson, who's lent her voice to plenty of releases on Chicago's Hefty Records in addition to L'Altra and her own solo projects. This was released at the height of the "laptop pop" trend, which the band justifiably could have been a part of without necessarily following in the footsteps of Styrofoam, The Postal Service, et al. The album was too sleepy, too world-weary, too mature to fit in among the freshman-level ernestness of those groups, anyway.
I loved the cover art of the first album and the follow-up took it to the next level with a cardboard sleeve that folded out into a tiny house. Really hoped to get more from this band, and I guess we did with a remix album a year later, but brand new music would have been even better.
So what happened to this band? Not asking for any huge final concert for closure, but at least a bullshit press release or blog statement if they're done for like they seem to be.
But who knows? I saw a brand new Dianogah CD at Borders (!) last night, so anything is possible.