Boomkat Product Review:
Cong Burn's John Howes looks to the mid-2000s for his Paperclip Minimiser debut, building an era-specific studio and using it to unfurl ambient experiments that split the difference between Chain Reaction, Mille Plateaux, and Schematic.
Using a Nord Modular G2, an Elektron Machinedrum, and a Monomachine, John Howes has built an “authentic” 2006 studio to serve as the engine for his Paperclip Minimiser project. The Manchester mainstay has maintained a solid presence over the last decade, not least via his Cong Burn imprint that's issued lysergic material from fringe dancefloor operators like Flaty, BFTT, Chekov, Lack, and of course Howes himself. Howes has also used the label to distribute his innovative sequencing software - a way of composing electronic music intended to wrench adventurous producers out of soulless DAW monotony. He employs some of these methods on his self-titled Paperclip Minimiser debut, assembling generative patches that are then forced into some level of malfunction to create unpredictable ghosts in the machine. The resulting material is familiar given its sound/era-specific studio setup, but driven by a wholly different energy.
It's perfect gear for the Peak Oil imprint that sits comfortably alongside releases from Topdown Dialectic, Leech, and Strategy, but while Howes' productions are steeped in similar influences, he aims for more abstracted results, hitting into the kind of blissful minimal pseudo-algorithmic repetition that SND made their calling card back in the Mille Plateaux era. Howes' tracks aren't quite as purposefully cold, but they're purposefully cyclic and mind-bending, suggesting Chain Reaction's technoid dub but not exactly repeating it. Rhythms wind and jam, controlled by malfunctioning technology. it's dance music that wholeheartedly references classic techno, but Howes is careful to never clomp a muddy boot into anything as crass as a uniform beat.
If you wanna hear what Phoenicia, Special Guest DJ, Serwed, and T++ would sound like pulverised in a blender, Paperclip Minimiser might be just the thing.