Technological Music Vol. 1
or, Regarding the Misuse of Tools and
the Rigorous Application of Capriciously
Derived Organizational Principles
1. Four Investigations of a Dubious Premise I
2. Pulse Matrix 1
3. Knobs A
4. Deterioration Maximization Etude: pulsegrid
5. Four Investigations of a Dubious Premise II
6. Still Life (white pedestals, w/ silt)
7. Deterioration Maximization Etude: pulsepile
8. Motion Study (freshly painted gallery walls,
9. Four Investigations of a Dubious Premise III
10. Deterioration Maximization Etude: deadspots
11. Knobs B
12. Pulse Matrix 2
13. Four Investigations of a Dubious Premise IV
An oblique response to various antecedents of pulse-
based electronic music without recourse to drum
machines or sequencing (or — in the case of the
Four Investigations — synthesizers). Tools include
oboe, English horn, analogue synthesis and mal-
functioning electric organs and piano.
Gratitude to Niko Wenner and Monica Scott.
Dedicated to Michael Randers-Pehrson, Jeff Bollaro,
and HK Kahng — stalwart comrades in my very
earliest electronic music misadventures.
Kyle Bruckmann (E192)
[This album is Bruckmann’s] self-imposed challenge to
replicate the rhythms and structures of sequenced
electronic music without the aid of sequencers or drum
machines. Instead his tools are analogue synthesis,
oboe and English horn, accompanied by “malfunctioning
electric organs and piano”. To what extent they’re mal-
functioning is difficult to tell, because everything sounds
off-kilter. Dissonant, jagged tones wheel through Knobs 2
like a runaway fairground carousel, while on the four
Investigations Of A Dubious Premise sun-warped organs
and bleeps assemble around dry, powdery rhythms in
a manner that recalls the extreme, irradiated Techno
experiments of Philadephia’s Metasplice.
Rory Gibb in The Wire
Blindfold on, gun to head, I would put Technological
Music, Vol. I squarely in the lineage of ‘live electronic
music’. It’s got the flickering, asymmetrical pulses and
the pungent, acidic timbres eating through the mix.
It’s got the feel of organically developing systems that
David Tudor explored with his neural networks. It’s
got the jerry-rigged electronics and intuitive drive of
David Behrman’s compositions. It’s got noise-drenched
forms of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s forays into live
modular synthesis. Even the track titles give off
the metallic whiff of the experiment: Motion Study,
Four Investigations of a Dubious Premise, Pulse
Except there’s not much ‘live’ on Technological Music
and there is less ‘electronic’ than you think. Much of
the record is actually sourced from Kyle Bruckmann’s
oboe and french horn. Sure, he adds in some analogue
synthesis, a malfunctioning electric organ and a piano.
But how he got from these ingredients to the shuddering,
sludgy low end and zombie drum-machine beats of Four
Investigations of a Dubious Premise II, a piece that is
closer to some creeping, early-1980s industrial crawl
or Wolf Eyes circa Burned Mind, is a bit of a mystery.
Especially when he doesn’t actually use a drum machine
anywhere on the record.
So if we read Technological Music as impressive mimicry
or as high-level homage, either way we have to stop and
ask: What’s the point? Haven’t we already hashed out
this debate? We know acoustic instruments can sound
like electronic ones and vice-versa. We know our ear plays
tricks on us and that shrewd musicians can exploit those
The irony of the title Technological Music, Vol. I suggests
Bruckmann might be making some kind of a comment on
technological fetishism. On one level it might well be that,
but considering that Bruckmann has deeply mined analogue
electronics on other projects, particularly in EKG, his duo
with Ernst Karel, much more than simple contempt drives
this release. Contempt, as an organizing musical concept,
isn’t all that interesting, anyway.
No, Bruckmann’s achievement is more than a stunt.
It’s not just a love letter or a piss-take. He’s telling us
to make creative use of our resources, whatever they
happen to be, encouraging us to work against our limits.
Bruckmann himself has plenty of instrumental technique
and compositional chops, so his capacity is much larger
than most, but the message remains: Don’t do the
obvious. Make up down and down up. Challenge people’s
perceptions. Technology is old as well as new, but it’s
never about the technology, new or old, anyway —
it’s about what you do with it. That’s been said before,
but it’s worth saying again.
Matthew Wuethrich at Dusted