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Charade Is Gold

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Album Review

Before re-emerging as the ensemble you hear on Charade Is Gold, Pulseprogramming had a previous life that began in the late ‘90s, when Joel Kriske and Mark Hellner blended synthesizer lines with skittering electronic beats for a sound that bounced back and forth between IDM and the more electronic end of the post-rock spectrum. Cut to 2011: it's been eight years since the last proper Pulseprogramming album, and the group now consists of Hellner and Chanel Pease. While the previous incarnation of the project seemed to embrace the digital landscape of late-‘90s/early-2000s electronica, Charade Is Gold goes for a warm, dreamy, analog-sounding approach. Where Pulseprogramming's past work felt rather forward-looking, Charade Is Gold casts a glance back toward the past, specifically to the ‘80s. Most of the tracks here evoke the early-‘80s synth pop sound of acts like Yaz, OMD, Thomas Dolby, et al. But this isn't a rote reproduction of that style — for one thing, Hellner's vocals, though consistently low-key, have a bit of a post-punk feel, occasionally bearing a similarity to the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis (especially on the opening track, "Perfect Problematic"). And the whole album has a hazy, dreamy feel that's far more atmospheric and ethereal than most of what emerged from electro-pop's golden age. Pease's vocals also work as an ace in the hole for Pulseprogramming — when her voice pops up, it adds a sort of Mazzy Star-ish aspect to the proceedings, accentuating the intimacy of the album's vibe. While Charade Is Gold takes some cues from the past, it's by no means in thrall to nostalgia. ~ J. Allen, Rovi

Customer Reviews

good music

Very fantastic album. Love the beats and chill out vibes. Snowmaps on Paper is my personal favorite. Has some upbeat stuff, some more chill out.. a bit of everything.

As for the reviewer who called this album a grown up version of the Postal Service… you obviously have no sense of music, nor do you understand that the entire electronic scene was going very well before the Postal Service came out. Pulseprogramming has zero resemblance to the Postal Service, and the Postal Service did not invent electronic music.

Thank you.

One of the best of 2011

Came out of nowhere and has been getting steady spins all year long. A gorgeous, grown up version of Postal Service's glitch-beat-indie-pop. Highly recommended.

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, the first...
Full Bio
Charade Is Gold, Pulseprogramming
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Customer Ratings

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