Tabs Out | Computer – Koy Pond

Computer – Koy Pond

11.08.2023 by Ryan Masteller

You might assume that the artist behind a solo guitar endeavor would be the kind of person to regularly hop atop their Marshall amp and flash the devil horns before ripping off solo after righteously technical solo as pyrotechnics erupt around the circular stage they’re clearly performing on in front of thousands of admiring fans. But no number of metal faces flashed or tongues wagged in defiance of the rules will matter if the music is all flash, no substance. It’s easy to judge a guitar hero based on the surface characteristics, but what happens when you get beneath the façade? What happens when you expose the gaping void at the center of their being, when you hold a mirror up to their true self to show them how empty their gestures are? That double middle finger to the establishment is reflected right back at them, and it can be rude awakening.

I know. I’ve lived it.

But there’s a flip side to this, where the guitar hero looks not to accumulate outward accolades but to search inward to find their true self at the center of their being. This is more along the lines of what Zona Zanjeros has done here with Koy Pond, an experimental guitar mediation gone nuclear, its blast radius extending far beyond Zanjeros physical presence and out into the wider Brooklyn neighborhood in which this was recorded in a single session, likely leveling a few blocks in the process. (Sorry, everyone!) Yes, this is just Zanjeros and a guitar (and Ableton). Yes, this is released under the moniker “Computer,” suggesting deep technical programming and orderly execution. And yes, I imagine myself peacefully looking at fish at first. But then it gets weird, and wild, and finally, I think Zanjeros ends up on top of a Marshall amplifier, flipping two birds at whoever’s closest.

Because who’s to say this is really a guitar at all? It’s amazingly varied, with Zanjeros virtually following every whim available clouding the instrument in effects, recording it at all kinds of levels, sending the notes/sounds/patterns careening in all sorts of directions, sometimes off cliffs. Where “Computer” becomes a proper moniker is in the processing, as it’s clearly fussed with, much to the delight of all zoner freaks who want nothing more than their minds melted or crispily fried like shorting-out effects pedals. Wait a minute – Zona, zoners? Not coincidental. As these passages stretch past reasonable runtimes and into contemplative headspace, we’re left to ponder the internal, the meeting of technology and human interaction with it, blanketing ourselves in silver sheens of static and ducking from phased pings of freaky fretwork. Getting to the heart of ourselves. Peering into the heart of Computer.

You are a mere six dollars away from this trip yourself – and only three copies of the original run of sixty-five are available from Drongo Tapes! You know what to do.

Tabs Out | SPLLIT – Infinite Hatch

SPLLIT – Infinite Hatch

11.01.23 by Zach Mitchell

Rules are meant to be broken. The idea of setting creative rules for yourself – in SPLLIT’s case, recording two distinct sides of a record from two songwriters in a day’s time – can be tantilizing as an artist. It creates a process, a goal, a narrative, and an eventual ideal to be trampled on for your followup. This is the situation SPLLIT find themselves in for Infinite Hatch, their second full length release and first true cohesive album length statement. The Baton Rouge post-punk duo’s (known professionally as MARANCE and URQ) first record, Spllit Sides, featured seven new songs and several more from an older cassette-only release. Infinite Hatch finds the team starting from the ground up for a batch of twelve stretchy, bouncy jams.

The core of SPLLIT’s sound has always been a merging of Palm-style mathy post-punk with DIY egg-punk sensibilities. Egg-punk (a term I hate, but one that sadly has meaning) is a tough genre to break into these days because, like with most punk subgenres, the lack of innovation in the genre means bands just iterate on each other endlessly. There’s two approaches you can take to skirt around this: you can either spend the money to record your quirky bursts in a real studio (à la Snooper, which turned out great for them) or you can inject real ideas into your music. SPLLIT chooses the latter.

SPLLIT’s biggest strength lies in mashing together seemingly disparate pieces, like on “Cloaking” where the band smash cuts loping verses into a hardcore-flavored outro. Infinite Hatch as a whole feels like that over its runtime, but when you dig into the individual pieces (like the skittering drum machine bits in “Dorks Tried” or “Bevy Slew”’s tempo fluctuations around one central theme) you notice something: there is one singular sonic world that this whole album takes place in. SPLLIT has created their own unique sonic palette right outside the edge of easy comparison. Everything comes in twos – vocals, drums, guitars. Layers upon layers of sound add up to some truly caterwauling, freeform punk. Rarely does this kind of trek into odd time signatures and herky-jerky rhythms sound this fun, which is the other big component of the SPLLIT sound world. Tracks like “Gemini Moods (Return)” sound joyful without being cloying. It’s easy to imagine the studio mania that accompanied the splatty keyboards and meter changes and even easier to feel invited to dance along with the band.

Infinite Hatch is a tough album to crack, but the invitation into its world is a tempting one. Every time I return to it, I turn over a new stone and find a new bleep, bloop, or percussion whack to appreciate. I’m drawn to albums like this – homespun patchworks of found sounds and dreamed up soundscapes from creative minds too weird to be pinned down. SPLLIT leveled up big time on Infinite Hatch. It’s a dispatch from two songwriters bursting at the seam with ideas. There’s a large part of me that hopes that other punk bands take a page out of their book – stretch out, loosen up, and don’t be afraid to sound demented while you’re doing it.

Tapes available from Tough Gum & Chrüsimüsi Records