For a long while I’ve been sent CDs and have promised I’d review them. As it was at the time, I was between blogs, but now I have one I like the look of and intend to get back into the swing of things. The first of these albums I was sent almost a full year ago. So now you know what I’m dealing with. However, not everyone will have been made aware of these albums as they were released, such is the nature of the sort of things I am sent, so I still feel the reviews are appopriate.
Decomposure’s Humidity Patient Guide was this first album. It took over a year and a half to emerge from its very beginnings, a sample recorded by Mueller of somebody buying a condo. From here, he decided to record one new sample every day to compile into a mixtape style mix, though not of the easy, throwaway nature of which there are many dozens recorded and sent out every day by those DJs seeking to make their fortunes from music; not only did Mueller agonise for months on end on how to piece this album together, coming close to abandoning it at one point (I, for one, am pleased he did not), but himself describes his purpose as “unprofitable,” though “non-profit” is the term more generally accepted that better describes his ethos regards the methods used more and more these days to distribute music.
Indeed, H.P.G. is a free album, available from Blank Squirrel Records (link direct to the album page – a click on “Buy Stuff” will lead you to a page where one more album is available for free and another is available to buy). If you like it, all he asks is that you donate. You’ve nothing to lose, so why not give it a go?
More or less all I’ve done thus far, however, is to summarise Mueller’s own detailed description of his work. So, you might be wondering, what do I think of it personally? Having somehow stumbled onto the work of Matthew Herbert (I forget how precisely, but it was a good while after this before I located and purchased one of his albums), who has a particular manifesto when it comes to samples and their use, I appreciate the organic nature of the electronic composition used by Caleb Mueller on this work. The elements used seem somehow disparate, but all come together in a concrete whole. I would hate to use that tired comparison to the work of the impressionist painters and how the it becomes cohesive only when viewed as a whole… but I suppose I just did, albeit by proxy. This is almost certainly down to the desire to create a mixtape; the sound and style of each of the excerpts (such as they are called) are determined not only as isolated incidents, but as a direct path from start to finish, dictated as much by the availability of samples but by the material on either side. As the construction of albums become, arguably, less and less relevent, this is one example of why this extended format can still offer much as an part of our ongoing cultural development.
That said, two excerpts are provided below for your delectation, along with another link to the site from which the full album can be downloaded free of charge, or with a donation if you so choose.
Download: Humidity Patient Guide