The sprawling 77-minute CD s_traits is comprised of 26 short tracks of academic glitch from two members of the faculty of Duke University, Bill Seaman and John Supko. In case you lose track of which “song” you’re listening to, Supko recites the title of each one before it starts. (How nice of him! More artists should do that on their albums.) The whole shebang is built of cut-up samples from a 110-hour collection of sounds, all smeared out and laminated together like a pleasing aural layer cake. The ever-industrious Supko himself wrote computer software to surf these myriad sounds of field recordings, digital detritus, live instruments, his own juvenile compositions, piano and documentary soundtracks and combine them in surprising ways. You might call it automated improvised composition with occasional live instruments meshed in. As the pieces pleasantly ebb and flow, bobbing upon tranquil waters, I’m struck by how much they remind me of Oval’s 94 Diskont. In fact, a few passages sound like they could have been lifted straight off of that album. Of course, they weren’t, but you get the picture: Fans of Oval and Microstoria will have no problem navigating the waters of s_traits. On the visual front, the double-fold-out Digi-Pak is completely covered wall to wall with the tiniest text that will give you a headache if you try to read it–even with a big ol’ magnifying glass.
Label: Cotton Goods Catalog Number: cottongoods–ap002 Format: CD Packaging: Digi-Pak Tracks: 26 Total Time: 77:18 Country: United States Released: 2014 More: Bandcamp, Boomkat, Bill Seaman, John Supko
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