Release Date: Sep 7, 2010
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Electronic, Avant-Garde, Experimental Ambient, Experimental Electronic
There is comfort in being continually surprised. One would expect the third solo album from The Sea and Cake linchpin Sam Prekop to be an immensely entertaining rock record, but it is doubtful anyone would have anticipated just how little Old Punch Card owes to the artist’s past glories. Let’s face it, the man is grotesquely brilliant compared to the majority of musos making ‘art.’ Causing waves in a variety of artistic circles with his painting, photography, and music, Prekop knows that art redefines art with each new work.
In January 2007 Sam Prekop talked to Pitchfork about an upcoming album by the Sea and Cake, the Chicago band he fronts. He also mentioned that someday he wanted to make an electronic record inspired in part by Plux Quba, an obscure late-1980s album by Portuguese composer Nuno Canavarro that got a second life when it was reissued a decade later by Jim O'Rourke's Mokai imprint. "That's the high-water mark, in my opinion, of electronic music," Prekop said.
A departure from his two previous solo albums, the Sea and Cake frontman Sam Prekop takes a break from quietly jazzy indie pop on his third solo outing, Old Punch Card, which finds Prekop moving in a more experimental, electronic direction. Sparse and textural, the album drifts back and forth between ambient melodies and static-filled soundscapes, falling somewhere between Animal Collective’s Campfire Songs and the works of Nuno Canavarro. Glitchy, unnatural sounds collide with soothing synth tones, feeling as if some kind of alien intelligence is trying to communicate something to listeners in a musical language they can’t understand, making the songs both soothing and enigmatic.
Have you ever heard a synthesizer disintegrate? Ever heard a cable modem explode? Have you ever wanted to? With Old Punch Card, Sam Prekop is the architect of a raw, digital landscape of electronic effects so harsh and basic, its parts are hardly “songs” in any respect but, more accurately, fleeting fragments of sound. The noisiest, most aimless stretches of Old Punch Card could be mistaken for a music editing software firing on random without a musician operating it. There is plenty of EQ shifting, a shitload of buzzing and percolating.
A stylistic about-face from the Sea & Cake frontman on his third solo LP. David Sheppard 2010 A stalwart of Chicago’s intrepid leftfield creative community, Sam Prekop’s musical renown is based on his work in turn-of-the-90s rock band Shrimp Boat and subsequently as leader of The Sea & Cake, the deft Windy City quartet whose marriage of liquid electric guitars, breathless vocals and African and Brazilian rhythms has won them a loyal international following. Prekop has also delivered two solo albums which broadly inhabit The Sea & Cake’s mellifluous, alternative pop manor, but this, his third, is a substantial about-face.