Khaki Blazer – Optikk

To be released on cassette and digitally on 5/31/19. C40 – pink tape with black imprints. Pro-dubbed at NAC on supper-ferric. 2-sided 3-panel J-Card with artwork from HausMo Max.

Khaki Blazer is Kent, Ohio-based producer Pat Modugno. His noise/free-jazz duo Moth Cock has been a mainstay of the Hausu Mountain catalog since the label’s inception. Optikk, Khaki Blazer’s third tape on Hausu Mountain, lays out an equally gleeful and damaged vision of post-plunderphonic 21st century beat-making, pushing his already skewed tracks into further unexplored depths of scattershot sensory overload and mutant collage construction.

Khaki Blazer’s tracks bounce and trip over themselves in loping rhythms defined by the hard chops and irregular grids of his wildly varied rhythmic structures. Stuttering drum programming, MIDI-core preset synth tones, and mangled vocal snippets latch into staccato grooves as bursts of found sound and skronky horn tones scramble their way into his chaotic networks of loops. While past releases found him sinking more regularly into patches of queasy arrhythmia, Modugno maintains a blistering pace through Optikk’s tracks, twisting high-BPM beat morsels into evolving blowouts rich with narrative disruptions. His own voice appears as a distorted human element within the mix, sounding out in the form of mumbled nonsense or hypeman-esque ad-libs about, for example, “getting high in a graveyard.” At the heart of his practice, he follows a sense of comic abandon and irreverence down bizarre production rabbit holes that could land as esoteric inside jokes without the benefit of his mesmerizing, hyper-detailed delivery.

Khaki Blazer draws inspiration from Chicago’s stable of Teklife producers, beat deconstructionists like Foodman and Fire-Toolz, and the goofier quadrants of the underground noise circuit centered around Northeast Ohio like Tiger Village and Aaron Dilloway. Contributions from this local scene pop into view within Optikk’s layered disorder, including performance artist Marcia Custer’s woozy vocalizations, Machine Listener’s garbled digital textures, and the spiraling saxophone anti-melodies of Steel Dangerous (Modugno’s Moth Cock bandmate Doug Gent). Following an internet-enabled trajectory traced out by the ever more detailed production styles of the international experimental electronics scene, Khaki Blazer’s work has progressed from the realm of full-on noise/improv into a fluid style of mosaic production splattered with vibrant textures and dizzying rhythmic activity.