Wobbly – Additional Kids

To be released on CD, cassette, and digitally on 6/9/23. CD packaged in a digipak. C50 – gray cassette with black imprints. This is the catalog page with album information and artwork. To purchase, head to our Bandcamp page.

San Francisco-based multimedia artist, composer, and improviser Jon Leidecker makes music under the pseudonym Wobbly. He is an active member of both the seminal experimental group Negativland, and with the Thurston Moore Group. Over the course of a varied musical practice that began in the mid-1980s, Wobbly has collaborated with artists including Matmos, Dieter Moebius (Cluster), Jennifer Walshe, Fred Frith, Tim Story, Cheryl E. Leonard, Zeena Parkins, and People Like Us. Leidecker has released recordings on labels like Illegal Art, Important Records, Bureau B, and Tigerbeat6. After contributing extensively to Negativland’s live-mix radio program Over The Edge, spearheaded by the late Don Joyce and broadcast from Berkeley’s KPFA FM, Leidecker inherited the program in 2015.

Additional Kids, Wobbly’s third release on Hausu Mountain, follows the app-exploiting experiments of 2019’s Monitress (HAUSMO96) and 2021’s Popular Monitress (HAUSMO110) with a song cycle that introduces a strain of Leidecker’s music rarely heard in his wide-ranging solo catalog: mutated pop music with vocal performances from a diverse guest list of singers appearing on nearly every track. Far from conforming to any standard playbook, Wobbly’s conception of pop can’t help but get warped and refracted through his idiosyncratic tonal sensibilities and his irreverent sense of humor. In consort with the constantly surprising turns of each guest artist’s vocal performance, Additional Kids carries on Leidecker’s ever-bewildering high-definition synthesis practice and his confounding production decisions as he builds tracks from staccato bursts of synth, clanging percussion, and garbled swathes of glitched texture. Wobbly considers Additional Kids to be a “multi-generational album about generations” and explains that it was “originally recorded in the early 2000s from the perspective of a bunch of friends asking themselves the question of whether or not to have kids while in their early 30s, then finished 15 years later in their late 40s after some of them had, and some of them hadn’t.” He adds, “as the years pass asking yourself whether or not you should, the question is easily answered by any of the kids who are already here.” Though some sonic elements, lyrics, and production ideas date back as far as 1999, the album sidesteps the status of an archival release or a collection of odds-and-ends and stands as a fully formed statement in its own right — a bittersweet and ultimately ridiculous opus that could have only been completed after a long period of gestation and reflection. Instead of wallowing in the trappings of pro- or anti-natalism, Wobbly and his collaborators cast themselves as jesters who can deflate these heavy existential considerations through parody and exaggeration, through abrasion and delight.

While album opener “Not Home” presents a particularly demented Wobbly production like a bustling dwarven workshop of synthetic woodwinds, Burkinabe artist Mai Lingani’s pyrotechnic vocal performance provides an improbable contrast with escalating sequences of high notes and ecstatic chants. “The Hospital” finds vocalist DemonSleeper (Alexandra Buschman-Román of Las Sucias) floating to operatic heights over Leidecker’s web of saw waves and kosmische bleep architecture. Ana Machado’s charismatic rapping weaves between squishes and percussive detonations on “White Eggs.” “You Belong Here” lopes over a consonant chord progression of lightly detuned synths that serve as a backdrop for a choir of Bay Area underground legends: Pamela Z, Las Sucias, and Blectum from Blechdom — abetted by the saxophone of plunderphonic progenitor John Oswald. Speaking on the contributions of the many collaborators that appear on Additional Kids, Leidecker reveals, “Only recently did I really hear what all of our lyrics were on about”: the viability of having children, the terror and exhilaration of parenting, the sacrifices of domestic life, and the reality behind the alternatives.  Though these themes swirl through Additional Kids, Wobbly and his collaborators twist them into their own gleeful forms of creation and recreation. As Leidecker explains, “The album is also very much about that overlapping bit on the venn diagram between the things people do to make their kids happy, and the things people do instead of having kids.”

Additional Kids features contributions from: 0th (Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork, Caryl Kientz, Canner Mefe, MNDR), Liz Albee, Kevin Blechdom, Blevin Blectum, Anne Bourne, DemonSleeper, Dina Emerson, Dominique Leone, Mai Lingani, Ana Machado, Anne McGuireKanoko Nishi-Smith, John Oswald, Phipps Pt., Danishta Rivero, Shatter Pattern, Sue-C, and Pamela Z.