Having played an integral part in the Northwest punk scene with his bands D.B.S. and more recently the Red Light Sting, the work of Vancouverite Andy Dixon has always been rooted in DIY punk rock. Though his computer-based glitch project known as Secret Mommy is an obvious departure from the abrasive guitar-work of his former bands, the approach is much the same. Released on his own Ache Records imprint (which is distributed primarily through indie circuits such as Scratch and Ebullition) and decorated with his own busy graphic design, Very Rec demonstrates that the punk ideals of purity through complete artistic control are important in any genre.
The record works under some fairly strict parameters. All the samples used were recorded from various recreation centers around British Columbia. The idea of sampling thematic sound effects is not entirely new, but here it is implemented in a way that is unpretentious and fun. Unlike Matmos’ s ominous samples of surgical procedures, the sounds of construction paper being cut at a daycare on “Daycare” and a midnight soccer game between friends on “Soccer Field” are manipulated into glitchy dance parties that sputter and click with joy.
The amount of melody acquired from these sound effects is remarkable, as demonstrated on “Ice Rink,” where a beer-league hockey game is transformed into a pleasant little song. Similarly, the sounds of a squash match on “Squash Court” mimic human emotion once they’ve passed through Dixon’s laptop. When the record does incorporate live instrumentation, as on “Dance Studio” and “Basketball Court,” it steadies the flow with some welcome variety.
Very Rec is a thoughtful record that exceeds expectations and demonstrates the rewards of executing a good idea. By not straying from his theme, Dixon has created somewhat of an urban storybook, at times both humorous and fragile.
“Dance Studio” MP3