Published Mar 08, 2017SlowPitchSound is a musical performance art project helmed by Torontonian Cheldon Paterson, specializing in turntablism, improvisation and hip-hop/sci-fi-influenced sound design. Live shows often incorporate dancing, either his own as he switches records or from a dancer named Libydo.
On his latest record, THK SKN, his combination of hip-hop, ambient and musique concrète takes us on a heady but engaging journey through alien landscapes and creepy dance floors. Paterson neatly avoids the generic pitfalls of trip-hop by eschewing conventional beats for the most part, in favour of a few minutes of throbbing, bass drum-led grooves. The ethereal textures are there, but instead of structured chord changes and new age-y pads, they come from syrupy, pitched-down samples that create a melting feeling.
The female R&B vocal in the middle of "Freak Show" keeps the listener's attention while building on the atmospheres tastefully, and in the fourth quarter of that 12-minute track, there are some romantic strings. Second track "The Oculus" opens with a quick but off-kilter bass drum pattern amidst an industrial soundscape including little tape snippets and flickers of noise. To marry such a range in sounds smoothly is no small feat, but SlowPitchSound's skill-set incorporate the playfulness of jazz and the world-building of science fiction.
The record opens with a robotic voice stating, "You can make a difference," and ends with "together we made a difference." Though a bit corny-sounding, like most good sci-fi, if you suspend your cynicism it can make for a fun, immersive, even mind-opening journey. (Independent)