d i t h er

r e v i e w s

d i t h er    "the man who tasted shapes"
Stylus       April 2000

It is almost as if you could watch the sounds that Dither makes
while it sleep - as if Dither were really a stirring, breathing thing.
Sleepless, restless sounding - if Dither were a colour, it would be deep,
dark blue, like the night-time sky. In many ways, the image that this
album's title illustrates sets the agenda for the strange form of this recording.


The Man Who Tasted Shapes is a recording of the now. It continually
bounces between the crackling and stuttering sounds of a compact disc
skipping and the seemingly genuine sounds of vinyl crackling. Maybe this
recording really is for pretend and it doesn't mean too much. The sounds
of vinyl crackling throughout could be viewed as suspect, but it's very
understated and somewhat subtle in it's aural appearance. The sounds
here are not out of place, they provide a nostalgia for something that
even delves into some past. This ambience is different, it crackles
and flows, is cluttered and confused with the digital scrapings of a
pre-recorded compact disc flutterance. Dither makes simple music - too
pretty and warm to doubt.

Steve Moore
Western Canadian Sales

No Distribution Ltd
1592 Barrington Street Halifax, NS B3J 1Z6
p 902.423.1755 f 902.429.0606

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d i t h er    "the man who tasted shapes"
SKUG Journal für Musik #43/00

unofficial translation from German by Gord/Aporia Records

The label is based in Toronto, while the Taoist-raised Malaysian electronic
musician Ken Lee, alias Dither, comes from California. Oval and
Microstoria were named as related souls, and indeed Dither creates
static, atmospheric ambient sounds. As if in a state of half-sleep, the
textures develop slowly and run wild. "Köln-Style digital deconstructionism
with a Pacific perspective" is a pretty close description for these
somnambulent sounds.  In any case, enough crackling noise is present to
get away with the Köln comparison. More importantly, however, Dither
swims in a sonic sea without drowning in esoteric kitsch.


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d i t h er    "the man who tasted shapes"
Mote    spring 2000 issue

Anyone who jams on the sound needle skipping at the end of a record for
five minutes gets my vote for personal hero in "music". If only
"Elliptical Oblate Spheroidal v.2.05" was heard on commercial radio just
once, I think things would be different. Sometimes it's like drowning
in a sparkly sea of warm sounds, or it's a movie soundtrack for a
haunted space shuttle. Or it's skipping through the shortwave frequencies.
Either way, I smell a hit.

Steven Moore
Sales - Canada, US, the World

No Distribution Ltd
1592 Barrington Street Halifax, NS B3J 1Z6
p 902.423.1755 f 902.429.0606



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d i t h er    "the man who tasted shapes"
Groovesmag.com web site
Sean Portnoy

The press sheet compares it to Oval and Microstoria, so you know what
you’re getting yourself into: call it middle-of-the-road digital sound
manipulation, somewhere between the harsh experiments of Farmers Manual
and the minimal ambience of the Mille Plateaux axis. The result is a CD
that is active enough to avoid falling into mere background noise, but
largely beatless (save for the opening "Enthrall" and the banging on
"Javanese Bathysphere" and "Angel Trumpet") and perfectly suitable for
late-night headphone listening. There’s a certain disquiet in tracks
like"When Sad but Forcing a Smile," which sound like anti-pastorals—i.e.,
whatyou get when you strip away the romanticism of simple sounds, lives,
etc.  Bits of distorted oscillations, assorted found sounds, and slightly
unsettling noise dominate here, and it’s a (im)perfect complement to
the dystopic ambience found on something like much of Soleilmoon’s catalog.

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d i t h er    "the man who tasted shapes"
Exposé #20, October 2000


With some exceptions, it is safe to say that Canada has not been the
source of much progressive rock of note in recent years. There has,
however, been healthy growth in the post-rock movement, most notably by
bands on the Kranky label. Dither offers a more sparse view of this
landscape, manufacturing mood with electronic manipulation, tape
effects, etc. The work is ambient and minimal, and strongly reminiscent of
Zoviet France circa Popular Soviet Songs and Youth Music.

The overall
ambience is maintained using drone work, as well as scratches, pops and clicks
as if this were a poor vinyl transfer. The atmosphere is surreal, sending
the listener from one scene to the next of some destined-to-be-forgotten dream. There is a vague sense of foreboding, but nothing actively dark or despairing. This is a promising beginning, and while fans of
gratuitous chop-fests might be bored to tears, that isn't really the point of this
music. Those who know what they're getting into will find lots to enjoy here.
- Sean McFee


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d i t h er    "the man who tasted shapes"
Broken Pencil, Summer 2000 (p. 81).

File this under ambient. But not necessarily under soothing. Most of the
time, Dither's brand of synesthesia just creeps me out. The man behind
the tracks is Ken Lee, a California-based producer who has also recorded
work under the name Eleven Shadows. Most of the music on this album was
composed during the many breaks Lee took while studying for his Masters
degree. His goal was to create music out of static, feedback, beeps,
pings and other found noises and make it all sound pretty. The tracks on
The Man who Tasted Shapes are powerful, but I wouldn't exactly call them
pretty. Ominous atmospherics dominate the first four tracks, which are
marked with cavernous drones and hisses. When Sad but Forcing a Smile
stands out from the other tracks as Lee throws in church bells and a
red-alert siren. These diversions from the dominant wall of sound broaden
the scope of the song. Lee is trying to take you somewhere, not just
overwhelm your ears. The three tracks that follow are more chill than the
previous. Angle Trumpet even waxes a little Eno-esque. For the final
track, Lee changes gears one again. The song entitled "The Man who Tasted
Shapes" could be a soundtrack to a nightmare. An overly impish voice says
"I'm scared. I'm scared." Me too.


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