BY FRED MILLS
Initially the brainchild of electronic composer Joshua Tabbia, Chicago’s Problems That Fix Themselves eventually morphed into a duo project when longtime Tabbia collaborator Alex Borozan officially became a full-time member. For the third PTFT album Which Is Worse, though, it’s impossible to know exactly who does what on these 7 alternately pounding and dreamlike tracks. Contrasts are abundant: opening track “Which Is Worse” commences in a noisy melange of static and distortion only to give way to pulsing organ drones, and motorik gem “Maximum Occupancy” is percussively hypnotic; while the press sheet accurately describes “8:62” as hearkening back to classic Aphex/Squarepusher drill ‘n’ bass, and “Elsie Mary” features a gently pulsing, almost hymnal vibe reminiscent of Tangerine Dream’s less strident soundscapes. Overall, a delightfully diverse journey, one dotted with surprises and large induced grins of recognition.
Which Is Worse is a vinyl only LP (plus download card; pressed in an edition of just 300) released by micro-indie Already Dead, and it demonstrates the power of persistence on multiple levels. Both the artist and the label surely fly well under the radar of most consumers, but by ensuring the music leaves its mark in the way of a physical artifact, fans of rare vinyl in the future will have quite an item to seek out. You, the fans of rare music, should seek it out now, however.
DOWNLOAD: “Maximum Occupancy,” “Black Elvis”