The term “turntable artist” is thrown around pretty loosely, but in SlowPitch's case the term is legimately applied. The turntable has been Cheldon Paterson's instrument of choice for more than ten years, so for all intents and purposes it's come to function as a natural extension—prosthetic, if you will—of the Toronto-based experimentalist. That his work has thus far been presented primarily in museums and theatre settings (The Royal Ontario Museum and The Music Gallery, to name two) rather than standard nightclubs makes sense, given the soundscaping character of the five “audio landscapes” featured in REPLCMNT, his debut outing under the SlowPitch name.

The eight-minute opener, “No Turning Back,” captivates for the artful way Paterson weaves a dense field of crackle, drones, and wobbly turntable swizzle into a funereal setting of dramatic force. During one sequence, we hear what sounds like a zombie dragging its rotting limbs through the crackling undergrowth as it zeroes in on its next victim. That ear-catching salvo is followed by four shorter pieces that explore the intersections between humanity and technology in their blend of processed voices, field recordings, and woozy turntable effects. The somewhat nightmarish “Mind Ctrl” at times plays as if the fissures of a deep head wound have opened up to allow its festering contents to spill out; “Subtract Attention Span,” by contrast, exploits a broad range of recognizable, real-world sounds—voices, vocals, musical fragments—as it flutters rapidly from one crackled-drenched channel to another. “Mysterious Grip” likewise flickers hyperactively between elements, and it's only here that one encounter beats (of the downtempo hip-hop kind, specifically) amidst the speaking voices and textures. It's “No Turning Back,” however, that is the EP's most striking and original-sounding cut, and one ponders what kind of material the sound artist might create were he to set his mind on splitting a pair of twenty-minute settings across two twelve-inch vinyl sides.

December 2011