Chicago artist Adam Killing is signed to Brussels analog label Romance Moderne, and listening to his latest tracks on Soundcloud it’s not hard to imagine why. Two mental images compete for credence, both equally compelling – and with his artist bios left deliberately opaque, there’s little besides the throbbing propulsion of his music to colour either position.
On the one hand you imagine a bohemian basement studio, perhaps accessible behind the trick bookcase (hint: try something by Nietzsche), where a makeshift bank of modular synthesizers twinkle malevolently in the gloom. The floor is strewn with polaroids and other obsolete media objects, bits of cut-up tape and shards of vinyl, and the only light besides the equipment is a dim red bulb. A citadel of forgotten labours, the future in the 70’s – fetishized into modernity by the dedication of it’s owner. There are touches of Sisters of Mercy menacing tracks such as ‘Diamonds‘, and the modern cousin of early Industrial music is heard in the danceable grind of ‘KCI’.
The second fantasy here involves some kind of Kraftwerkian sleekness – a willing embrace with modernity and the cold precision afforded by mathematics. Every surface reveals a facet of an architectural vision rendered in black, white and red, and this too is a citadel. Walls are covered with blown up black-and-white photographs from a time when professionals still required chemicals and darkness, and synthesizers still shimmer benignly like a veiled threat. There’s a single-mindedness to tracks such as ‘Vapp‘ and ‘AXXE‘ that implies their author knows exactly what he’s doing – that the happy accident eradicated by modern production is preserved here for the benefit of both style and substance. More Übermensch than mad professor, then…
Reality of course is liable to be somewhat less prosaic, and it’s hard to approach things such as vintage electronics and outmoded media objects without the distortions of irony or post-modernism. If I had to choose a colour for this sound, it would be red… Not to say there aren’t flashes of light in the music here – indeed, as you can read below, there’s a grace in movement, in silence, in reflection. In even the most black-hole of meditations, the act of mobilizing vibration into music is a form of alchemy; conducting energy towards purpose and will. In the beginning there was The Word, and the word was God. Like holy fools, all artists are channeling that same essence; creating something out of nothing, in as much as that’s possible in a world of contingent beings.
Here’s Circa Tapes article:
In The Arts of Silence and The Power and Poise of Thy Tongue
Motion – forever moving, never still, only wanting. In the arts of silence one can observe motion and the laws that it follows. Never able to stop, only able to still thy mind to create a mirror that reflects the truth of motion and its ever changing and evasive ways. But is it not this motion which is, to quote, “Beyond Good and Evil”? For when opposites are realized and annihilated in the perfection of their dance, it is motion which binds them, drives them, and ultimately remains to find new imperfections in space/time.
It is from this place of placid tranquility that one can observe and play in the arts of language. Language itself is the creation and realization of motion. Aleph, the first letter, A – speaks of air and begins the expression of matter in the form of motion. The tongue is like that of the sword. The great fallacy that, being an extension of thy will, is discriminating and allows creation and destruction to dance within the same breath. Each word has a vibratory existence and resonates from different parts of the body.
Through the understanding of this vibratory motion that is experienced and released during speech, one can use words to energize ones being and align the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of him/herself. This power, or metaphysical aspect, can manifest in the world we live in. Speaking without consciously aware intent and understanding, one can trap themselves by the words that are spoken on the lips and tongues of us divine beings.
Language is an art, like existence itself. It is a fun play to be had……
Weapons in words, defense in silence. Strategically placed and emphasized to touch and taste moments of cruelty in seasoned spice. One word realized forever among the growth of silence in here. One word spoken in truth, through beauty and radiance of light and love. Demolish its fear and hate from thy opponents.
What lies in the dark subtleties of the tongue? The choice to deliver a slice of the sword to cut deep or pull away the needed from the unnecessary. What sweet-turbulent, tepid-poison pushes its manifestation into the blank, moldable silence to be digested by perception? What will speaks conscience of its direction, unshakable toward goal and movement?
There are utterances that hang in the air and thoughts to those received, sharp and deliberate as electricity to ground. The powerful armies of perception; unable to claim its distortion on it, unable to dodge its truth.
There is speech that bounces and bends through eyes that take the wheel. Speech controlled by the listener due to lack of weight or constitution. Not to be confused with a deliberate elasticity in language to open space and freedom in the will of a tongue.
So what is this “will” behind the wheel of words? How can the focus and drive of speech be tightened as an extension of thy will?
Circa Tapes album ‘Adam & Eve’ on Romance Moderne, available here.
Introduction by Wes Freeman-Smith