Machine Listener – Colubrid

To be released on cassette and digitally on 9/27/19. C35 – Green shell with black imprints – super-ferric stock. 2-sided 3-panel J-card with artwork by HausMo Max and Matthew Gallagher. This is the catalog page with album information and artwork. To view the store page, click here.

Cleveland-based producer, sculptor, and visual artist Matthew Gallagher records music under the name Machine Listener. Through most of the 2010’s, Gallagher has been a central fixture of the Cleveland noise scene by way of his now retired concert series Research and Development and through his continued role as a mastermind of the annual Voice of the Valley Noise Rally festival in West Virginia. Gallagher has collaborated and performed extensively with a range of Hausu Mountain-affiliated artists like Moth Cock and Tiger Village, and he appeared on Optikk, the latest release from HausMo mainstay Khaki Blazer. Colubrid, his first solo release with Hausu Mountain, opens his extra-terrestrial laboratory for office hours and lets us witness the creation of his technoid hardware sketches as they funnel out from his rig of synthesizers, samplers, and sequencers. Gallagher builds his tracks from bursts of non-recursive drum patterns and atonal anti-melodies, as organic drones spread through his mycelial networks of sound. Like the drippy, tactile pieces that populate his visual art practice, his music exhibits little evidence of the input of humankind as it splashes through the speakers in dollops of amorphous electronic texture and warped patches of idiosyncratic percussion. While some elements of his work call back to the more form-agnostic exports of projects like Autechre and Mark Fell, Machine Listener’s innate penchant for rhythmic grooves and dub-informed bass voices keeps his music rooted in some semblance of almost danceable beat production. The fact that Gallagher prefers one-take live recordings and chance-based operations speaks to his mastery of his chosen gear and his clear vision in shaping the final product of each of his sessions with little more than preliminary tone programming and hands-on-knobs decision making.

Crafted from squelching synth voices and swathes of fibrous, granular glitch, Machine Listener’s tracks pile together into twitching blobs rendered in high-resolution detail, like dribbles of iridescent plastic allowed to congeal together and dry overnight. Just when his sessions seem to teeter on the edge of total abstraction, Gallagher introduces bizarre beat structures into his mixes that bump and slither into legible grids that build alongside the swirling voices that have accumulated up to that point. Machine Listener’s choice of drum tones runs the gamut from tinny presets that evoke a full drum kit as performed on an 80’s FM keyboard to the 3D volleys of re-tuned percussion found in contemporary club-adjacent techno. Colubrid evokes the feeling of looking out through the compound eyes of an insect or the infrared field of vision of a reptile, transmuting familiar shapes into a fractal visual language that pushes at the boundaries of the human perspective and plumbs the unknown depths of auditory fragmentation.