I’ll be the first to shout “turn that crap off” when the sounds of digital wanking emanate from the speakers. If you didn’t have to touch something to make the sound come out, it ain’t real music, right? Commercial (Sean Flowchart and Trevor Holland) makes me eat my words. Their pieces, digital and sequenced, nonetheless have a very organic feel to them. Filling in the gaps between beeps and drum machine stutters with snippets of recognizable sound, Commercial’s songs avoid the pitfalls of self-obsessed studio “masterpieces,” seeking to amuse rather than awe. Artwork, for example: There is NO information beyond a mass of silver gradients on the insert and tray card. The CD provides a URL. For the UPC or even the name of the band, you’ll have to go to the sticker plastered on the case. Song titles? Forget them, you don’t need them.
Track 4 is a savage see saw between a flutey soundtrack to a children’s show and violent drum and bass blasts, mediated by an interfering lush string section. Track 6, recognizable from a previous appearance in the Little Darla Has A Treat For You series, plants a wandering analog line amongst a burbling rhythm and the occasional “oh yeah.” Intelligent and engaging, this is digital music for analog people.
Darla Records, 625 Scott #303, San Francisco, CA 94117; http://www.darla.com