Since 2006, electropop provocateur Maxx Klaxon (a.k.a. Maximus Clarke) has curated the SPLICE performance series in New York City, featuring innovative electronic musicians from around the world. This adventurous compilation features a dozen wildly diverse collaborations between SPLICE-affiliated artists, perfectly capturing the series’ spirit of “eclectic electronics”.
At a moment when commercial, formulaic “EDM” is the mainstream face of American electronica, SPLICEWERK asserts that there’s a lot more going on musically at street level. The album is kickstarted by Maxx Klaxon's own high-voltage but rough-edged electro remix of a track by his SPLICE co-curator, I, Synthesist (pop surrealist Chris Ianuzzi, noted for his past work with The Puppets and Man Parrish).
Ianuzzi contributes two more I, Synthesist remixes to the lineup: one by synthpop guru and SPLICE resident DJ Tim Heireth (of Brand New Idol) and another by politically-conscious sample-slinger Isaac Peachin (who records and performs as Vusac). And Ianuzzi offers up “Will”, an epic, dark sound tsunami co-crafted with power-noise auteur Thomas Watkiss.
SPLICEWERK includes three reworkings of tracks from Maxx Klaxon's 2005 debut, PARANOID STYLE. He also debuts a pair of brand-new songs: "Military Time" (co-produced with Javier Lopez Williams, the Peruvian-American beat-mangler whose aliases include _vectorzero and TurboTit) and "Authoritarian Idol Theme" (a joint creation with avant-pop trickster Radio Wonderland, also acclaimed as post-minimalist composer -- and They Might Be Giants remixer -- Joshua Fried).
Accomplished multi-instrumentalist Chris Burke (renowned as chiptune maestro Glomag) is represented by “Letter to the World”, a shining melodic spiral co-produced with Haeyoung Kim (8-bit idol Bubblyfish), and by “Flutter”, an oceanic expanse of processed guitars, composed with downtown experimentalist Tamara Yadao. Yadao also collaborates with multimedia artist Jeremy Slater on the finely sculpted ambience of “Static Affect”. And Slater, under his Parenthesis pseudonym, remixes Maxx Klaxon’s “First We Take Manhattan”, adding a ghostly sheen to the pounding urgency of this Leonard Cohen cover.
The links between these artists are as dense as the tangle of patch cords on an old-school Moog... and the level of talent mixed into each cut is accordingly multiplied. A perfect example is “Tell Me Why He’s Here”, a hypnotic mashup of tracks by current_working_directory (Brooklyn-based electrogaze poet Ted Hayes) and album producer Klaxon. But the Klaxon track, “Here For One Reason”, is itself a radical rework of a live recording by Finnish electro primitivists Club Telex Noise Ensemble and art-rock superstars Chicks on Speed. The sonic surgery is executed by producer Peter Riley, of neo-wave duo The Dossier.
The SPLICE electronic performance series has helped to keep the spirit of boundary-smashing exploration alive and well. And the SPLICEWERK compilation brings the results to the world: artists joining forces to test the limits of analog and digital technology, and to create something more than just a homogenized dancefloor commodity.
“SPLICEWERK is full of songs that demonstrate the ongoing creative contributions of American musicians. ... It’s a collection that highlights the brilliant experiments that continue to fuel the endless avenues of electronic music.”
--Giosue Impellizzeri, Technodisco.it