Boomkat Product Review:
One of our favorite records on Taylor Deupree's long-running 12k imprint, Shuttle358's "Frame" is an enduring soft-focus glitch milestone. Rich with pillowy pads and hyper-digital micropercussion, it sounds like a gentle embrace from an era that never really got its dues.
It's tough to believe it's been a full two decades since "Frame" offered textured emotionality to the icy cold world of microsound. At the time, acts like Oval and labels like Mille Plateaux (and indeed 12k) had began to forge a reputation for eking out music from the kind of sounds that you'd find when your CD player skipped or bulk desktop PC malfunctioned. Dan Abrams (aka Shuttle358) subverted this by injecting beauty and melancholy, and reducing the flurry of digital glitches to a faint rattle.
For the album's 20th anniversary, Abrams spent 2020 perfecting new mixes for the reissue, using a "hand-painted spectrum reconstruction method on the original tracks." We're not entirely sure what this means, but the album has never sounded better: the percussion is more defined and the floral pads have never sounded deeper or more enveloping. It's music that's been endlessly replicated over the years, but few artists have reached the heights of tracks like the memorable eponymous opener, the nauseous, discombobulated 'Broom' or achingly sad 'Lyndon Tree'. The low-slung, druggy 'Spiff' has really never been bettered.
"Frame" is a descendent of Eno at its core, and is as emotional weighty as "On Land" or " Music For Airports", but where those albums hovered around the sonic palette of the era, Abrams smartly brings us into a more modern zone of dial-up internet, Windows 98 and AOL. There are few better examples of the sound and no more perfect loveletters to an increasingly distant age.