Duderman Discovers No. 3 – The Out Circuit

30 05 2008

The Out Circuit

Ambient, experimental music is never really my bag.  There’s a fine line between music that emphasizes texture over melody and, you know, music for yoga sessions.  On a side note, my heart will be crushed the day I see “Holistic Stretching To Brian Eno’s Music For Airports” offered in those community college fliers I occasionally get in the mail.

However, I’m a big fan of artists that blend electronic atmosphere with organic, heavier elements such as forceful vocals, the occasional big guitar, and a good rhythmic backbone.  One such band that goes for this fusion is Seattle, Washington’s The Out Circuit.  It is, essentially, a one man project totally helmed by former Frodus bassist Nathan Burke (the band name is derived from the Frodus track “Out-Circuit The Ending”).  In 2004, the project released its debut album Burn Your Scripts Boys, which is a largely ambient work that can fill lofty halls with its atmosphere.  However, it is their latest album Pierce The Empire With a Sound that strives to find a balance between Nathan Burke the Experimentalist and Nathan Burke the Post-Hardcore Reckoner.

Pierce The Empire… has its share of ambient simplicity (“Across The Light”) and intensity (“The Fall of Las Vegas” which features Sean Ingram of Coalesce on vocals).  The key highlight of balance, though, is right in the middle of the album; “The Contender,” a soft/loud/soft track which features guest vocals by Thrice’s Dustin Kensrue, is where the fusion between ambiance and vehemence works perfectly.  As a whole, The Out Circuit is still inches away from finding THE sound Nathan Burke he desires.  But, at the moment, what he has produced so far (especially with this album) is truly meant to be heard.

Don’t expect this album to be played while soccer moms try to find nirvana.

The Out Circuit Myspace
The Out Circuit – The Contender


The hanging wall is moving, proving me wrong: The No Knife Post

29 05 2008

No Knife

When I talked with Thrice bassist Eddie Breckenridge this past December, one of the biggest things I got out of our brief, yet filling conversation was the recommendation of two bands: Frodus and No Knife.  One of these acts, the Washington, D.C. based “spazcore” Frodus (whom Thrice covered on the “Earth” disc of The Alchemy Index), was already a favorite band of mine; their swan song And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea is a stellar album that has yet to leave the confines of my car’s cd collection.  Definitely check it out, kids.

But, I had never heard of San Diego’s No Knife; I was not familiar with the name of the band or the names of songs such as “Secret Handshake” and “The Red Bedroom.”  So, out of morbid curiosity, I threw myself at the material eager to see why Eddie was so enamored with them.

With buzzing guitars, a VERY neat rhythm section, and lyrics that are as vague as vague gets, I was immediately hooked.  Even if I wasn’t recommended by the member of one of my favorite bands, I would have eventually discovered this band thanks to their unique sound, which reminds me of a bigger-sounding Mission of Burma with better sound quality and far more approachable singing.  

Unfortunately, the band would split in 2003, dividing into bands such as Moonlife (too synthy for my taste), Get Your Death On! (too noisy for my taste), and singer/guitarist Ryan Ferguson’s solo career (the simplistic, pop side of No Knife).  It appeared as if the band and its sound had separated completely.  But, in a recent post on their official website (www.noknife.net), the band announced plans to play their first show in 5 years in the latter part of 2008.  Very very cool news in these times of band reunions of significance (The Verve) and insignificance (Simple Minds).

So, thank you Eddie Breckenridge for introducing me to this great band.  Hopefully, you readers out there will enjoy this stuff too.

No Knife – Secret Handshake