Austin analog producer Bill Converse has followed up ‘OK Karplus’, the excellent stand alone track he released for the Holodeck Records Vision One compilation earlier in the year with the release of a new EP, Hulled. The Dark Entries release is the the first substantial one since last year’s excellent second album The Shape Of Things To Come. Recorded in its entirety to tape with no overdubs at his home studio and mastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkley, the four tracks represent an experimental trip through Converse’s main techno influences, Detroit, Acid and Ambient. Acid lines and ambient melodies are wound together using an array of vintage synthesisers and the old school feel is completed by the rhythms that emanate from their relationship with the tactile and often gritty sound of drum machine generated percussion.
The experimental aspect occurs in composition and stems from how Converse chooses to operate. Such is his comfortability with and mastery of the analog world that he able expertly stitch together kaleidoscopic patterns that work from different and seemingly disparate pieces of hardware. In less capable hands these would be seen as incompatible and irreconcilable. The dystopian nature of opener ‘Landing’ is a prime example as ambient synth merges with harsh industrial drums, hissing open hat percussion and doses of jarring acid. The faster and busier ‘Endless Tide’ is another example where Converse blends together the pastoral and industrial as floating flute like melodies intermingle with a heavily manipulated buzz-saw like riff.
There is an equal sense of danger and beauty and the strange and the familiar about Hulled. Converse himself has been quoted as saying the tracks represent “ocean waves in stormy conditions, dark grey and blue water or more generally speaking something more ominous and beautiful”. His ability to pull these diametrically opposed elements together in feel and deed is what gives the EP its overwhelming sense of cohesion and not once do you find yourself questioning method or result. In inventively utilising retro-fitted elements, Converse has again carved out a futuristic musical document at the cutting edge of electronic music.
Hulled is out now on vinyl and digitally here through Dark Entries. Listen to ‘Endless Tide’ below.
Bill Converse (USA)
From the EP, ‘Hulled’, Dark Entries.