Among the 1.4 million releases on Bandcamp there is a modest but mighty fine self-released ambient drone debut album, which you most probably have never listened to. Until now. ‘To Mould The Deceiver’s Song‘ by KLØP was released last winter, and since we could not read about it anywhere, it went completely unnoticed. It’s time to discover who is hiding behind this rather funny sounding name, producing some seriously heavy psychedelic drones, which resonate like a perfect mixture between Tim Hecker and Windy & Carl.
Sounds Of A Tired City proudly presents two young talents from Chicago: Eric Unger and Michael Slosek.
Who is KLØP and what do we have to know about you? How did the two of you meet?
KLØP is Eric Unger and Michael Slosek. We grew up in the same small town in upstate New York and went to the same high school. We didn’t hang out much then because we’re two grades apart in school. Eventually, after going to different colleges and living in different cities, we both ended up settling in Chicago. Prior to playing music together, we both have been (and still are) active poets – with Luke Daly and Barrett Gordon, we co-edited a poetry journal string of small machines, and have made a number of books together through a loosely affiliated group called House Press.
When and how did you get in touch with music?
We’ve always been interested in music, visual art, and writing. Eric has been more involved with making music: writing, playing, and recording his own songs. Around 2009 we started to play together, at first with straight-ahead songs like Spacemen 3 covers and other sorts of psychedelic rock. Around this same time we started to become more interested in drone, electronic, and ambient music, and we started to experiment with creating suspended/immobile, immersive songs, or recursive sound structures, rather than songs that move ahead linearly.
How did you start experimenting with creating your own music? What do you think a moderate but proper equipment setup consists of if you want to start making music?
The equipment we used when we started playing and when we recorded ‘To Mould The Deceiver’s Song’ was somewhat basic and frankly kind of shitty. We used what we had on hand – two Fender solid-state amps; a few digital loop and reverb pedals, fuzz and distortion, and electric guitar and an acoustic guitar. Working with only two guitars and effects, we realized we were limited by what we could do – we weren’t going to have a band, so in a way we were forced to experiment, though that mode of creating art is familiar to us and probably suits us well, so it seems natural and inevitable that we would have ended up making the sort of music we’ve made. The album took about 4 years to make, from the time we started recording in Eric’s apartment on a digital 8-track, to the time we had it mastered with Caleb Willitz and released on Bandcamp (all of which happened at the end of 2013/beginning of 2014). We would play once a week, record loops and live playing, which we’d then edit down from a wide swath of material. Over the course of making ‘To Mould The Deceiver’s Song’ we recorded hours and hours of sound.
You are based in Chicago, where house music used to dominate throughout the history. How did the atmosphere of the city influence your musical tastes?
The music scene in Chicago is rich and diverse. An interesting area of cross-pollination is between certain darker, dronier aspects of folk music and electronic music. This connection has been particularly strong with artists in Chicago. Our good friends Luke Daly and Barrett Gordon (Vada Granger) curated a music series called Kaleid from 2010-2012, which brought together a number of small, experimental, mostly Chicago-based artists. But also venues like the Empty Bottle, the Hideout, Comfort Station, the Burlington, and Constellation (to name only a few) have been essential in introducing us to music that often flies under the radar.
How did you get the idea to give birth to ‘To Mould The Deceiver’s Song’ and host it on Bandcamp? Have you tried spreading it around and getting it to various labels to find a home for it?
Oh, we have our own private wish list of labels we love and admire and would be thrilled to have the album released on. We’ve sent it along to a few of these, but decided that after years of work on this one thing, and the polite but decidedly not-clamoring response we received from some of these labels, we’d release it ourselves, via the internet.
Whose music helps you the most while you are on the right track to find your own personal voice?
It varies. It could be anything from dark British electronic music like Raime or Pye Corner Audio to American stoner metal groups like Sleep and Acid King.
You both work with poetry and publishing in Chicago. In what way do you think that literature complements music in your case, if in any way?
We approach music in a similar fashion to writing and publishing, essentially with a DIY ethos: we write, produce, and publish our writing within our apartments and then disseminate the work through a network of friends and fellow artists we’ve cultivated over the years. If the work makes it beyond these lines of connection, which it occasionally does, it is always a welcome surprise. As with our publishing endeavors, we were involved in every step of the process of making our album, by figuring out how to do so by trial and error as we went along. The literature we’re generally drawn to that has helped inform our musical aesthetic tends to deal with a quality of duration that explodes anticipated forms. In this case, writers like Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Clark Coolidge, Gertrude Stein, John Ashbery, and Barbara Guest to name only a few. Thinking about and through the idea of literary translation has also been central to how we approach making music. We’re interested in running sounds through various mediums, not so much to make an analog of the original, but to foreground the noise given off through the various transpositions.
(Video: Arvid Wuensch)
What are your future plans with KLØP?
To continue making music together and recording regularly, possibly integrating more beats and found sounds into the mix. We’d like to streamline our approach to playing live shows and do more of that. We’ve collaborated on music video projects with video artists such as Arvid Wuensch and Nick Twemlow, and hope to work with other similarly talented artists in bringing our music into other dimensions.