Pulseprogramming - Tulsa For One Second [Aesthetics - 2003]The laptops are taking over. In a couple of years, the laptops won’t even need humans to make good music. And maybe in a couple of decennia, humans won’t be needed anymore for anything at all and become extinct. But for now, we can still enjoy human creativity and Pulseprogramming's Tulsa For One Second is one of those albums created on a laptop.
Pulseprogramming is a multimedia collaboration between Joel Kriske, Marc Hellner, film & video artist Eric Johnson, art directors Hans Seeger and John Shachter and poet Joel Craig. It becomes clear that the artists think of the artwork and presentation as a very important factor, judging from the out-of-the-ordinary digipack. The different panels can be folded into the shape of a house, which is something I’ve never seen before. Damn, what’s next?
The name of this collaboration already implies that this is electronic programmed music, something with...pulses? Not really, actually. Pitchfork already came up with the name “lap-pop”, and I think this description is pretty fitting. The electronic sounds are very melodic, and supported by nice clicking beats and, surprisingly, the occasional vocals. Múm is definitely a close comparison, and so is Boards Of Canada or Mouse On Mars, but I feel this is even more “poppy”, simply because the rhythms used are more accessible and even danceable at times.
The tracks with vocals stand out with richer productions and more use of different sounds; Blooms Eventually, the opener, is probably the highlight. The vocal effects through the vocoder give this track a more forced electronic touch, since the rest of the instrumentation doesn’t even sound coming out of a laptop. It’s rather organic and natural instead. The 3rd track Stylophone Purrs And Mannerist Blossoms features an excellent clash between the male vocals and those of Lindsay of L’altra. More tracks with vocals are on Tulsa For One Second, and Don’t Swell Up Your Glass Pocket is one of them. A beautiful resemblance with Múm’s Finally We Are No One... These tracks come closest to what the meaning is of the term IDM (“intelligent dance music”), but without the cold and distant touch you would expect from such as release. The “filler” tracks are more like ambient with cut-up beats, very nice to listen to but not as interesting as the ones with the vocals featured. The album ends with the hypnotizing and comforting sounds of a music box.
This wouldn’t be a multimedia collaboration without the presence of a visual work, of course made by Eric Johnson, who’s also responsible for the visuals accompanying the Pulseprogramming liveshows. The video of Don’t Swell Up Your Glass Pocket is of exceptional quality; the repeating blurry image of a girl (?) is perfectly fitting to the warm, tender sound and vocals of that song.
Besides Tulsa For One Second being not really groundbreaking of original, I find it a very good work amongst the many of laptop-releases coming out the last couple of years. Much is to be credited to the vocals though, and it’s certainly not the glitchy clicks & cuts that do the job here. The effort alone makes this worth checking out nevertheless.Justin Faase