Quantazelle | Coaster

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by Quantazelle

Glitched-out textures and blissful atmospherics held together by funky machine-noise grooves, and catchy, melodic explorations.
Genre: Electronic: Experimental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Braking (Hushed)
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2:53 $0.99
2. It's Fizzbang
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5:02 $0.99
3. Late Blazing Kinch Theme
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2:56 $0.99
4. Wineglass Chopstick Clinkrush
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3:56 $0.99
5. Ping Query
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4:59 $0.99
6. Belmont Killa
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4:02 $0.99
7. Pedwards
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3:05 $0.99
8. Clue Minus You
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6:02 $0.99
9. Sunken Projectile
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3:17 $0.99
10. Pansy Beatmatch
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2:11 $0.99
11. Vanity Knobs with Groove Grimace
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5:29 $0.99
12. Stereofoam
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16:27 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Quantazelle's signature sound consists of glitched-out textures and blissful atmospherics held together by funky machine-noise grooves, and catchy, melodic explorations. Imagine Melody on Mars-era Aphex Twin gifted with more processing power, or maybe a glitchier, instrumental Múm.

Coaster features 12 tracks of Quantazelle's bright, melodic IDM. From the catchy glitch-hop of the opener, "Braking (Hushed)" to the wistful piano arpeggios of "Sunken Projectile," the album, while being most appropriate for chill sets and dance floor transitions, has enough diversity within to keep the experience memorable and engaging.

"...Pianos, strings and machinery [all] battle for your attention," writes Corey Maass of Modsquare. "It definitely keeps you on your toes, allowing the music to stay direct but interesting-it's not exhausting like a lot of the other music in this genre ... there's more emphasis on melody. 'Late Blazing Kinch Theme' and 'Pansy Beatmatch' are a lot more straightforward melodically and are just gorgeous. Both are very pretty little romps into an electronica netherworld."

The most striking aspect of the release is its packaging concept. The CD itself has a dotted outline showing the correct placement of one's beverage, and the CD booklet features an instruction manual detailing proper utilization of the Coaster. "Accessories" are also offered simultaneously with the album: a Coaster Case, which allows easy portability of Coaster, and four Custom Surfaces, enabling a stylish personalization of the CD / coaster.

"When, exactly, do you find time to sleep!?" asked a new acquaintance after being introduced to Liz McLean Knight--the driving force behind Quantazelle, as well as a myriad of projects related to cutting-edge electronic music and culture.

* A rarity in the male-dominated world of electronic music producers (www.quantazelle.com)
*Founder and editor-in-chief of Modsquare.com, Chicago's premiere online resource for experimental electronic music / IDM .
*Founder and manager of aubVariant Recordings, as well as its graphic designer (www.subvariant.com)
*Cheif designer and owner of Zelle, a design company featuring jewelry and accessories created from computer and electronic components. (www.zellestyle.com)
*Manager of Fractalspin.com; an online store selling Zelle accessories, subVariant music, and other interesting, geeky gear.
* Producer of "SoftWear," the technologically-inclined fashion show that made Chicago's New City cover in May 2003. (www.modsquare.com/softwear)

In high school she was introduced to the world of underground electronic music through warehouse parties in the seedier parts of Chicago, but it was at California Institute of the Arts that she decided to devote herself to creating experimental electronic music and focus on innovative package design. Returning to Chicago she reconnected with computer musician friends from high school and spent a year learning their methods before she self-released a number of her earlier works on CDR in various packaging concepts.

Her first release for subVariant Recordings is Coaster [SUBV001] an EP featuring her most complex and engaging work to date, and packaged as a designer beverage coaster that comes with its own carrying case and instructions for use.

Liz started the online magazine, Modsquare, in October 2002 to feature conversations with electronic musicians and artists creating innovative contemporary electronic music--such as Twerk, Mr. Projectile, Marumari, Adam Johnson and Cepia; reviews of the enabling technology of said music; reviews of noteworthy albums; and a Chicago event calendar. It has won praise from many directions and is considered an exemplar source for discovering experimental electronic music in the midwest.

In January 2004 Liz started a jewelry company called Zelle (www.zellestyle.com) to sell the unique designs she wears at her live performances. Crafted from electronic and computer parts, they appeal to both technologically-sophisticated and fashionably-sensible crowds. One of the bracelets crafted from Category 5 ethernet cable recently garnered large orders for Valentine's Day on the programmer-chic niche site, Thinkgeek.com.

As Quantazelle she has performed live alongside people like Jimmy Edgar, String Theory, Miles Tilmann, Proem, Proswell, Machinedrum, Kero, Atomly, Elliot Lipp and Common Factor, participated in Laptronica Laptop Cage Matches, and performed at the digital arts festivals Version>02 and Select Media Festival.

The latest project undertaken by Liz is the launch of her own record label, subVariant Recordings. It's success will be bolstered by many of the strength she brings to the project: her experience in writing about music for Modsquare; her natural talent for product packaging and graphic design; and the enthusiasm that she is able to relay effectively to others, both within and outside of the music business.

Liz resides in a northern neighborhood of Chicago and is currently available for live performances in the US and internationally.

Artist site: http://www.quantazelle.com
Related: http://www.modsquare.com, http://www.zellestyle.com, http://www.subvariant.com


to write a review


Coaster's collection of spry songs is genuine experimental endearment.
The key to any hypnotic record is the beat. Quantazelle (a.k.a. Liz McLean Knight) uses the same deep bass and stuttering synth stubs [sic] to keep you on track while she takes her static samples skating across the cosmic plains. A hot trick that could get stale in someone else's hands, but Quantazelle melds in delicate instrumentation and slowly builds the tracks into a high-paced frenzy, a playful kind of manic with toy piano tinkering out mischievous melody. Coaster's collection of spry songs is genuine experimental endearment. - CARLA COSTA


It’s a solid, more-than-competent release. The bulk of the 12 tracks here work s
That Liz McLean Knight is a jewelry designer in addition to an electronic musician helps explain her novel packaging of this full length as the titular object. Tongue-in-cheek it may be, but it’s also a bit too self-deprecating to instruct consumers to use the disc as a beverage accessory—the ultimate sign of an unimpressive CD listening experience.

...It’s a solid, more-than-competent release. The bulk of the 12 tracks here work straight from the classic Warp playbook, with skittering rhythms indebted to Amber-era Autechre before the pair’s beats went all algorhythmic on us. Quantazelle isn’t a one-trick pony, though, as she dabbles in 4/4 pounding (“Pedwards”), retro videogame bleeps (the closing “Stereofoam”), and even an ambient piano track (“Wineglass Chopstick Clinkrush”).

In fact, Coaster’s best when things slow down a bit. “Vanity Knobs with Groove Grimace,” in particular, sounds like an Aphex Twin track from the Selected Ambient Works 85-92 era that Richard D. lost on his hard drive. Despite encouragement from the CD’s case, fans of pure IDM probably won’t put this near their coffee table."– SEAN PORTNOY

The Milk Factory

The music is exquisitely complex and abstract, with elements of electronic and a
With a pseudonym that evokes at once computer-based music (quantization) and the female gender (Mademoiselle), Chicago’s premiere lady of electronic Liz McLean-Knight presents a sumptuous, often intriguing and slightly paranoid soundtrack to city life, with elements of acoustic instrumentation, found sounds and discreet vocal inputs atomised, digested and regurgitated into an impressive first album.

...The music is exquisitely complex and abstract, with elements of electronic and acoustic instrumentation constantly set on a collision course with found sounds and sharp pseudo-industrial beat structures. Amazingly at ease with chaotic sonic landscapes, Quantazelle crafts subtle little melodies out of debris of techno and electro while also providing some interesting atmospheric variations. The album opens with the short but superbly effective Braking (Hushed). Built around a sharp hip-hop-influenced rhythmic structure reminiscent of Autechre circa Tri Repetae, Liz layers sounds to develop a mind-bursting melodic pattern. Swiftly moving on to the luxuriant and upbeat It’s Fizzbang, she unequivocally asserts her sonic territory, injecting some more sharp-edged cuts further along with Belmont Killa, Sunken Projectile or Stereofoam. Yet, Quantazelle also knows how to manipulate more delicate and volatile sound combinations. Whether through the light melodic circumvolutions of a harp on Late Blazing Kinch Theme, the aquatic acrobatics of Pansy Beatmatch or Vanity Knobs With Groove Grimace, Liz McLean-Knight manages to develop fully functional organic structures in a few minutes without using tired gimmicks or empty stylistic effects. Even the hidden track, found approximately ten minutes after the end of Stereofoam, is delightfully quirky.

If electronica sometimes appear to stagnate, Coaster certainly displays enough fresh ideas and impressive moments to shake up even the avant-garde. Never losing the focus on the music as she often ventures into abstract territories, Liz McLean-Knight avoids the pitfalls of contemporary music and manages to remain truly accessible, while at the same time challenging. This first Quantazelle album is superbly unique and creative, yet captivating and engaging.

Evil Sponge

The best electronica album I have heard since Aphex Twin's Drukqs
”Coaster is--and I do not say this lightly--the best electronica album I have heard since Aphex Twin's Drukqs. It combines an eclectic feel using various different laptoptronic sounds with a sense of melody and musicianship that is not often seen in the laptoptronic world. Really, Quantazelle has a fine sense of melody and that is what makes Coaster so impressive. ... Quantazelle has some nice rhythm on “Pedwards” in the form of scattered clanging metallic sounds in addition to something that sounds like old school record scratching. But then she combines this with a high flute riff and some staccato keyboards sounds that repeat a head bopping riff over and over. Really an amazing tune, and I simply adore it. And I hum it....

The album also displays an amazing knowledge of the recent history of electronic music, in that many of the songs take elements from other acts and re-combine them is new and interesting ways. For example, “Ping Query” is constructed out of a simple, very light keyboard riff with tinkling rhythms which sound like something Autechre might have used on Incunnabula. And “Clue Minus You” features a thudding beat and prominent keyboard melody that, at times, sounds almost like Underworld, or mid-era Cabaret Voltaire. With the throbbing beat, I bet this is popular on the dance floor. However, Quantazelle adds some rather interesting IDMish sounds to the mix, making it more than simple dance music… Quantazelle is also familiar with the mellower end of the electronica spectrum. “Vanity Knobs with Groove Grimace” is a nice mellow tune in the vein of Casino vs. Japan, while “It's Fizzbang” takes those same luscious keyboard drones and combines them with world beat percussion a la Young American Primitive….Quantazelle displays some serious diversity in her music, and not that her music is derivative. Far from it. … the combination of the sounds is pretty unique. And of course she adds her own little software-y flourishes to the music, as well as her sense of melody.

There is not a bad song on this album, and I am very impressed. If you are interested in laptoptronica, then Quantazelle is an artist to watch out for and Coaster is a "must have" record.