Week in Pop: Julia Anrather, Passive Tones, Snuff Redux

Sjimon Gompers

The unstoppable & unrelenting rise of Seattle's own forgotten & forsaken sons—Snuff Redux; press photo courtesy of the band.

Passive Tones

The assertive audio aura of Passive Tones; photographed by Sean Julian.

The assertive audio aura of Passive Tones; photographed by Sean Julian.

Passive Tones are Karl F. Hohn and Ezra Teboul, who today proudly present a world premiere viewing of their Garret Harkawik video for “I Dreamt Of A Storm” where vintage billiard commercial is met with a sense of classic, eternal glamour & an array of electric neon effects. Taken from their self-titled via Afternoons Modeling, Karl & Ezra enlist an old friend who won Vimeo’s staff pick of the year, delivering previous visuals for “Dinner With Packer” & “No Needle, Just A Haystack“. The duo develops synthetic, real, & innovative approaches to making your favorite electronic artifices feel a little more tangible & realized. Like the beauty heard on their demos that surfaced earlier this year, Harkawik’s visual interpretation treatment breathes expanded dimensions & inspirations into the rich analogue-digital hybrid tek at play in the Passive Tones aesthetic.

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Passive Tones strike up a cosmic storm as “I Dreamt Of A Storm” begins with a pool demonstration that shatters the chronological prism that stands between yesterday & today, venturing deep into the video archives where VCR views into the past point toward tomorrow’s new audio/visual patterns, designs, arrangements, et al. Keyboards shimmer in conjunction with the visuals that go from fashion shoots, screen tests, to vast array of found visuals that showcase space flight, eating M&Ms in zero gravity, along with all kinds of sci-fi scenes spliced-in for good measure. Passive Tones & Garret take you deep into the video static where earthy electronic elements mirror the emulation of today’s most savvy tech consoles with fuzzy & punchy rhythms blended with arpeggiating synths. As the arrangement of “I Dreamt of a Storm” moves toward it’s climactic finale, the sound becomes more frenetic like a rocket ship soaring skyward vertically as Harkawik accelerates the visual edits into a hyper collage that makes for the perfect compliment to Passive Tones’ own self-styled school of electro-arts.

Passive Tones’ Karl & Ezra presented us with the following introductory thoughts about their self-titled tape & the creative video for “I Dreamt of a Storm”:

Karl: Garret is my best friend from high school, and he and I have been working together since we were like 15. I’ve made music for a bunch of his films over the years so it’s really awesome to have him make the video.

Passive Tones' own arrangement; photographed by Karl Hohn.

Passive Tones’ own arrangement; photographed by Karl Hohn.

Karl: As far as our instrumentation, Ezra is using a tabletop rig of cheap hardware synths and max-ed out distortion pedals with many delays, all interconnected in two intermodulating feedback loops, and I’m using Ableton Live, a Game Boy, and a Commodore 64- his signal chain is almost all analog and mine is all digital. All the music was performed live- we follow a set structure, but with plenty of room to explore and improvise- I’ve been composing and performing electronic music for almost 10 years now and for most of that time it felt very karaoke-style, playing along to backing tracks, so I wanted to get away from that and use an approach that allows for more freedom in the moment. Ezra was a perfect collaborator for that- his parts are almost entirely free improv, and his approach and sonic palette complements mine perfectly.

Passive Tones getting aggressive in the act live; photographed by Devin Tamiazzo.

Passive Tones getting aggressive in the act live; photographed by Devin Tamiazzo.

Ezra: It was a real pleasure working with Karl on this project and seeing it complemented by Garret’s work is a true treat, just in terms of complementary aesthetics.

Getting all 'whalecore' with Passive Tones; photographed by Karl Hohn.

Getting all ‘whalecore’ with Passive Tones; photographed by Karl Hohn.

Karl: I’m extra proud of this one because I’ve never released any of my music on a label before, and I think this sums up my musical sensibilities really well.

liner notes from the Passive Tones self-titled.

liner notes from the Passive Tones self-titled.

Passive Tones self-titled is available via Afternoons Modeling.

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