Sam Prekop – Old Punch Card

January 01, 1970


(Thrill Jockey)


Austere, intellectual and far removed from Prekop’s more
song-oriented work with the Sea and Cake, Old Punch Card layers the hiss
and click and mechanically pure tones of synthesizer into abstract,
unexpectedly moving patterns. As you might expect from an album that cites Nuno
Canavarro and Raymond Scott as influences, tone takes precedence over melody.


Tunefulness, in fact, is nearly accidental here, a lonely
thread of synthesizer rising out of machine shed sounds near the end of “Tell
Work,” a series of luminously clear bell-tones hovering over static-infused
“Array Wicket.” “The Silhouettes” can, perhaps, be grasped most readily, its
shimmering runs of computer notes allowed to glisten through only a scrim of
friction. Overall, though, Prekop is strict about ease-of-access, permitting no
voice, no beats and only one bit of guitar.


And yet, amid these studies in interleaved, not-conventionally-musical
sounds, a human, very spiritual intelligence emerges. There’s a ghost in the
machine, all right, and it’s Prekop, making beauty out of the twitch and murmur
of circuits. 


DOWNLOAD: “Array Wicket,” “The Silhouettes” JENNIFER

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