Release Date: Mar 17, 2017
Record label: Mute US
ADULT.'s Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller have always had a hermetic aesthetic. Their synthesizers sound like museum pieces; their post-punk production reeks like a leaky dungeon. And their dry sense of humor keeps the listener perpetually off balance, the same way that their creepy cover art steadfastly refuses to meet the viewer's gaze. You never see a pair of eyes on the duo's record sleeves--just covered faces, gloved hands, and ambiguously slumped poses, markers of contemporary alienation raised to the level of high art.
The visual arts and popular music have had close ties before but, with the possible exception of Throbbing Gristle, ADULT. blur the lines like few before them. Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller have toured the world with their paintings, sculpture and installations but with 'Detroit House Guests', home is where the heart and avant-garde music is. Their collaborators - including Swans' Michael Gira and Nitzer Ebb's Douglas J McCarthy - spent three weeks living with them while working on the LP, resulting in this collage of raw, percussive grooves that combines post-punk, performance poetry, analogue synth explorations, crypto-techno and acid.
It's important to remember that Adult.'s Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller are established visual artists as well as musicians, and have exhibited their work in spaces around the world. While their last album, The Way Things Fall, was some of their poppiest music yet, their Mute debut, Detroit House Guests, sounds more like a gallery installation than a set of danceable tracks. The album's roots are just as conceptual as any of the duo's other works of art: in the early 2000s, Kuperus and Miller had the idea to host musicians at their studio for up to three weeks at a time, living and working together, and were able to make it a reality after receiving a grant from the John S.
To record Adult's sixth album, Detroit House Guests, husband-and-wife duo Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus invited a series of experimental musicians and artists—Nitzer Ebb's Douglas J. McCarthy and Swans's Michael Gira among them—to spend three weeks living and working together at their Michigan home. It was an immersive experience that the band has described as “a total anthropological sound experiment.” And while the result yielded a much wider vocal scope than that of the band's previous efforts, which have leaned heavily on Kuperus's detached monotone, Adult remains fixated on finding inventive ways to fascinate and unnerve their listeners.
Now on their sixth album, the Detroit-based electro-punk duo ADULT. have gone down the collaborative route. Michael Gira of Swans, Douglas J McCarthy from Nitzer Ebb, Shannon Funchess from Light Asylum, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (aka Lichens), the artist Lun*na Menoh and the thereminist Dorit Chrysler were all given the honour of being "artist-in-residence" at ADULT.'s studio.