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Tulsa for One Second

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Album Review

Pulseprogramming's first album was constructed with alternately enveloping and chilling moods with no regard for typical songcraft or rhythmic foundation. It was a decent album of ambient IDM, if not exceptional. So it comes as something of a surprise that the duo's proper follow-up, Tulsa for One Second, thrives on its mixture of fuller-sounding productions and relatively traditionally structured songs with vocals. The album comes across as a modern spin on the dark, ethereal shadings of This Mortal Coil or even the crossbred electronic/symphonic austerity of the Blue Nile (the male singer's voice occasionally approximates the slightly sullen tones of that group's Paul Buchanan), albeit a spin fit for release on Morr Music. Ironically, the one track that most resembles the debut is one of the highlights, and it has vocals: "Don't Swell Up Your Glass Pocket" is a hallucinatory drift with a heartbeat for a rhythm; over drawn-out chords and atmospheric touches that swell and recede, the vocals from the male and the female stumble out of their mouths as if they just rolled out of bed. "Stylophone Purrs and Mannerist Blossoms," in which the two vocalists engage in a call-and-response, weaves lullaby-like chiming melodies with rippling clicks and pops and low-key use of downcast strings. The instrumental tracks are just as engaging, bolstering dreary-but-impossible-to-shake textures with rich, cushiony beat programming. Don't let the sickly sweet twee whimpering of the opening "Blooms Eventually" throw you off; what follows hardly makes for run-of-the-mill chillout compilation fodder.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Pulseprogramming is centered around Joel Kriske and Marc Hellner, but the group is a multimedia entity, including art directors (John Schacter and Hans Seeger), a video artist (Eric Johnson), and a poet (Joel Craig). Kriske and Hellner originally based the group in Portland, OR, but they eventually set up shop in Chicago. The first self-titled album — predominantly a work of ambient IDM — was released in 1999 on Chicago's Aesthetics. A pair of limited-edition albums followed in 2001,...
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Tulsa for One Second, Pulseprogramming
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