Coupler Live Recording

Posted by Third Man on 24 September 2015

Back in January 2015, we had the pleasure of hosting two of our favorite electronic experimentalists in our Blue Room. One and local, one from the furthest regions of the Pacific Northwest.

The event came to life when local acousticians and purveyors of deliberate ambience, Coupler, took the stage. It was twenty minutes of captivating and unhurried techno that sounded bucolic at first, then violent, then crumbling, but always with a deft momentum. You could feel it in your gut and in your skull and so, naturally, we needed a cherry on top. BOOM. We had the avant-garde hip-hop glitch-poem duo known only as Shabazz Palaces headline the show. Their presence was immediately magical and real, the beats as icy as the pelleting rain of their home. The undeniable backbone of musique concrète, plain as day, redefining what counts as a beat and a lyrical cleverness that toyed with the expectations of the crowd. And, yes, we caught it all on acetate and tape. And, yes, we loved what we heard. (Shabazz is on the way on delicious vinyl folks!)

Coupler's set was a twenty-minutes mega-moment of song, and we've decided the live album needs an accompanying piece. We've invited them back to record Side B on October 13th with a full orchestra of nine friends and musicians, and it promises to be a very special piece exploring the nether-regions where the organic collides with the electronic (kind of like that movie The Demon Seed only as music, or the Beatles "All You Need Is Love" Our World broadcast but for the Shrug Generation). This is Coupler performing a large, multi-instrumental hydra. However, this isn't our typical TMR show. There’s no opener and we’re keeping this a relatively intimate affair. We’ll have 75 tickets available for those interested in seeing a recording process become a performance. Grab one HERE and read all about it Coupler's main man Ryan Norris' own words below. 

 We asked Ryan Norris to tell us all about this new piece they'll be performing and we'll be recording on the 13th:

"This piece has conceptual roots in the newly released HeCTA album The Diet as well as a circular echo in Lambchop's collaboration with Bill Morrison on his new film The Dockworker's Dream. It is a bridge from a certain perspective. During the writing and recording of HeCTA's debut I began to notice sympathies between the disco, house and techno I was absorbing and the motorik, classical minimalist, jazz and Afrobeat that were already so dear to my heart. In particular I noticed a parallel with the album In a Silent Way by Miles Davis. I'd read that some considered the beginning and ending of Side B of that release to be a kind of proto-ambient music. In the same way it seemed to me that Side A could be thought of as proto-techno: all repetitive, modal, one-chord groove oriented toward the horizon. I thought it would be interesting to see if the two—dance music and early fusion—could be wed in some way. This was certainly not a wholly original thought as Arthur Russell mined similar territory with Dinosaur L in the '70s. But I wondered, what if the side-long tracks of Miles electric period were in some way a precursor to the side-long 12" mixes favored by DJs? If the HeCTA record was an attempt to make concise statements that were songlike while using the language of dance music then this piece would be an attempt to color outside those lines, allowing the music to spill across an entire side of wax while hopefully capturing the paradoxical feeling of motion and stasis so central to the hypnotic work of Neu!, Kraftwerk, et. al. I went about its creation through a process very familiar to me by now, which was at first additive and improvisational followed by an editorial stage that is subtractive and sculptural. The result is difficult to execute in full with Coupler's by now normal three-piece lineup. So when the nice people at Third Man Records offered me the chance to recreate this piece in a live setting with a large band I naturally jumped at the opportunity."