Frustrator is the amazing glitchy-poppy-groegously-crafted project from Brooklyn sound designer Tei Blow.”Glitchy-poppy-groegously-crafted” says everything. Blow plays warm and fragile songs. I always have the impression, that these songs don’t want to be pop songs, but the more they try to hide, the more they smile around the corner with a poppy smile. The music feels very at the time and fits as a great counter piece to Dirty Beaches new Record. Listen to the samples below.

The Details

Blow - who makes his living providing sound design for theater and dance troupes like the Baryshnikov Arts Center - is the consummate craftsman. He builds sounds and textures with such a deft, light touch that it can be easy to lose track of just how sophisticated his work is. The sounds and synths on this record whirr and hiss and buzz at just the right - what, volume? Frequency? Always just enough, always just so. You're given the sense that you're listening to something quite fragile, but quite beautiful, quite cared-for.

The sensibility also needs to be discussed. Blow's work is often futuristic, abstract, hinting enough at traditional pop song structures and tropes that you can bob your head and hum along and get melodies stuck in your brain - but just enough. Into that perfect pop soundscape come traces of the avant-garde, of glitch and drone, of digital artifacts (which Blow likes to manipulate in his video work - see the performance art group, Royal Osiris Karaoke Enemble and some of his other video experiments) and effects. Always, though, we're anchored to something familiar, like the pleasant, lullabye-like guitar on "Runwinter" - still just off-balance enough to keep us thinking.

I remember Tei as the first kid I knew who had a sampler, the first person I knew who knew anything about digital music, or synths, or anything. His room was always filled with gadgets and cables with no clear destination, broken parts and electronics and a computer that always had something cool running. He was always able to take those bits and pieces and turn them into something beautiful, perfectly assembled, like they'd been meant to go together all along.

Black vinyl. Black and white jacket featuring original photography by the artist. Only about 180 available, so do yourself a favor and check this one out.

Price $20

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