Written by: Matt Sloan
Photo Credit: Dan Kikbe
We’ve previously covered numerous Vancouver-based bands in the past here in Stereo Embers and we will likely cover our fair share in future as well. Today we present you another artist based in one of our favorite cities – connect_icut.
Signed to Aagoo Records, the label will release connect_icut’s Music for Granular Synthesizer, a new triple-cassette EP. It will also be made available on Bandcamp. Originally hailing from the United Kingdom, Samuel Macklin (a.k.a. connect_icut) relocated to Vancouver over a decade ago. It was there that the West coast atmosphere inspired his creativity and sonic-technological experiments. With a lengthy discography under his name, Macklin has been releasing music since 2005.
connect_icut aims to remove the distinctions between instinct and intellect, chaos and order, organic and synthetic, analogue and digital. Macklin finds a balance between melodic elements and rarefied abstraction with intense modulations that flare up between the cracks of mysterious geometrical passages.
The Wire Magazine commented that it was “always involving – and easily rewarding enough to make getting up and turning the record over an anticipatory pleasure.” Meanwhile, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Byron Coley (via Arthur Magazine) also noted this music, “takes a lot of standard ‘pretty’ electronic practices and flops them over on their sides… There’s pop crafting here, but it’s subtle and allowed to evolve in its own darkly idiosyncratic way.”
Earlier, Aagoo Records released two separate albums from connect_icut: ‘Crow & Kittiwakes Wheel and Come Again’ (2013) and ‘Small Town by the Sea’ (2014). The latest following this was 2017’s Rage Coma.
While those albums were mostly created using computer software, this new EP is essentially a test recording for a new all-hardware set-up. Whereas other electronic music producers making the software/hardware switch have simultaneously adopted an analogue-only approach, connect_icut remains firmly rooted in the digital realm.
The six extended tracks collected here delve into the granular synthesis techniques developed by computer music pioneers like Curtis Roads, Barry Truax and Guy Reibel – only without using a computer. The songs anchor all manner of chaotic abstraction in a solid foundation that is fundamentally grounded in hands-on performance and spontaneous composition. Live, connect_icut appearances have included support slots for a number of notable electronic artists including Oneohtrix Point Never and Loscil.
Music for Granular Synthesizer will be released via Aagoo Records on November 24 on triple cassette and can be ordered at http://aagoo.com/connect_icut-music-for-granular-synthesizer-triple-cassettemp3 and also digitally via Bandcamp.
Keep it Real: Support connect_icut
Aagoo releases (3 albums) https://aagoo.bandcamp.com/music
Other releases https://csaf-records.bandcamp.com