From Austin, Texas, experimental project Violent Squid unveil their latest release Landline Phone Calls From The Kitchen in 1992. It’s been six years since their last album Day Wants Empty, a collaboration between Violent Squid’s main visionary Ty Stamp and more than a dozen other musicians from the Austin scene. Violent Squid’s newest five-song EP, however, was recorded by Ty Stamp alone in his kitchen, fiddling around with his hardware synths and his BR-1600.
Violent Squid’s music is all improvisational, building up from a basic house beat, adding in bleeps, sweeps and creeps (I just had to squeeze in a Spaceballs reference), taking inspiration from electro, free jazz and krautrock. It’s all very ambient and doesn’t require too much concentration from the listener. It’s like a glitchy soundtrack to an NES video game. Hell, Ty Stamp could have been frying an egg as he was recording this.
The only voices you’ll hear in this EP are in the clip at the beginning of the opening track “Phone Book Ballet,” and in the distorted words on “Z-93 Radio Phone Party,” though it’s hard to make out what is being said under the layers upon layers of strange and wonderful noise. There’s a choral swell in “AmaChron Disco,” though that sound can easily be replicated by a synth.
I’ve never been that big on electronic music, so I don’t think I would voluntarily listen to this in my free time, nor would I have the patience to listen to tracks with runtimes ranging from 6 to 13 minutes. But I do appreciate Ty Stamp’s creativity and playful nature. There’s nothing really violent about Violent Squid’s music. If you’re looking for something that’s quirky and, at times, soothing, something that you put on in the background as you clean your house or during a casual hang with friends, then you might want to throw this on.
Written by Chris Aitkens
*Edited by Dominic Abate