[a]pendics.shuffle: Helicopter Hearts

Kenneth James Gibson issues music under a dizzying number of guises—Bal Cath, Dubloner, Eight Frozen Modules, Premature Wig, Reverse Commuter—but it would be difficult to imagine anything topping this [a]pendics.shuffle material. Having previously issued 12-inch discs on Proptronix, Narita, and Orac (Saw Saw Soup plus Unclassified Computer Funk, a split venture with Paradroid), Gibson now drops the coup de grâce with Helicopter Hearts, fifty minutes of absolutely superb computer micro-funk.

All eight cuts maintain an amazingly high standard: the opening title track slathers glitchy whirrs over a chugging stomp of slithering bass lines, while dubby smears strafe bubbly microhouse in “Your Words Are Necessary” as bionic voice croaks exhort minions onto the dance floor. The percolating “Saw Saw Soup (Miso Mix)” begins with steely dub pulses accented by off-kilter stabs before upping the genius ante even further with funky bass lines and vocals, the latter alternating between whispered coos (“Everybody you know has a microphone/Not everybody you know you know can go so slow”) and warped syllabic distortions. With tight stutter-funk rhythms bombarded by bleeping synths, “Garbanzo Love” encapsulates the potent danceability of the Orac sound while dizzying skirmishes of voice slices, blips, and wipes unfurl over percolating fields of skipping hi-hats and hand claps in “Cemento.” Throughout this spectacular collection, Gibson deepens the [a]pendics.shuffle sound by not only casting a visionary gaze forward but by referencing a Chain Reaction past via steely smears that dubbily echo throughout the songs' cavernous hallways.

October 2005