Codec Scovill

Clinical Imperfections

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Fans of willfully abrasive electronic experimentalism will get a kick out of this debut album by the Philadelphia-based Codec Scovill collective, which is also the debut release from their label, Nonresponse. The music isn't abrasive in the sense of being necessarily unpleasant, but rather in its textures, which tend to be grainy and harsh without being especially loud or overbearing. The group is coy about their source materials; the press information says only that "the recordings use a minimum of sound sources with emphasis placed on signal routing techniques to generate and manipulate sound." OK -- that said, "Screening Results" sounds as if it's built largely out of guitar feedback, whereas the source for "Hohner" must be a harmonica, which blows long, sustained notes that are tweaked and twisted as they build layer upon layer. "Tandem Sling," on the other hand, sounds almost like a church organ being pounded by breakers on an electronic beach. You can't dance to it or hum along, but relatively cerebral listeners should get quite a kick out of this album.

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