Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stacian on Moniker Records

Stacian is the solo electronic future vision of Stacia Standoff. She's alone in creating a lot of dark electronics with distant layers of vocals over the laser storm. Listening to this, I keep trying to figure out what it is exactly...where the line is... that makes compositions built out of mechanical, synthesized sounds like this either fall into a purely dance type of genre, or lately a dark apocalyptic future. These foreign, very specific tones that have traditionally been used in techno, trance, glitch...all those variations and when a piece is using the same sounds essentially, but it's clearly creating something else. It isn't utilitarian from the conception maybe? It literally will have the same rhythms why is Stacia able to elevate these tones into something mysterious and haunted instead of fist pumping? It's obvious from the first tones cut into vinyl where this lands on that scale...I don't know I guess you can use a guitar for a million different genres, so it's about these tools being taken back away from that mindless party for a more interesting purpose. Artists like Blank Dogs, Gary War, Ducktails, Zola Jesus are similarly reworking these abandoned instruments to take them in a new direction. It's enough to easily tear down any memory of the's maybe interesting in the way it is so disposable? No one is going to give a shit about any club artist or DJ in a year...I don't know, I'm not going to get anywhere today figuring where that mode of production fits into electronic work like this.
The A-Side, "Blood Sugar" is, while sounding very dark, a fast tempo track, with all of those base wave sounds. The capturing of very birth of a synth sound, the hard ninety degree envelope, a single glitch tone, untouched by effects. Stacian builds up and layers melancholy rhythms one after another. I really think you get something unique about listening to this on vinyl, those sub bass overtones that have to get lost on tiny ipod headphones...oh well, everyone knows that already. it just feels like you cleaned out your ears for the first time when this piece starts diving into the lower scale for a measure. The whole piece becomes more and more layered, the pitch wheel more liberally applied, the oscillating sounds more frantic. This is definitely contemporary but fits and pays homage to the very beginnings of electronic music.
"Metal Mountains" on the B-Side is really closely related to that unsettling darkness of Blank Dogs, bare bones distorted drum machines, everything just slightly peaking in the red, the problems of using this barely held together equipment allowing for these impossible to duplicate moments of alien pop chaos. The main melody is just as strong and catchy as what makes this minimal synth genre ultimately so interesting. It's more than an experimentation, it solves the problems, overcoming everything pushing it away from you in the end.
"Micro Trauma" has a underlying layer of a possibly middle eastern scale type of vocal with a heavy Kraftwerk feel melody. The fast brief bleating scale of synth, except on this one, like all of Stacian it's under a patina of scratched opaque windows. In that, god forbid, lo-fi way it nods at that history of these sounds. Maybe it's trying to recapture that feeling again by adding layers of age. (The hipstamatic app for the iphone).
I'm getting way over my head for a 7" blog post. I loved every minute of this, it's complex and weirdo and expanding on those minimal synth days through the lens of someone who knows that history and takes it from there. Solid and impressive.

Go check out some of her work on her bandcamp page and pick up this black vinyl, minimal screened sleeve with insert from Moniker Records.

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