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Initially started as a way to help distract himself from writer's block while creating the debut LP for his flagship band, City States, Chicago musician Joel Ebner took two weeks in late 2012 to work on something—anything other than a pop record—to free his mind. Using only a Korg R3 and editing the results in Ableton Live, Ebner discovered that he was quickly developing a new musical language for himself, one that was refreshingly devoid of lyrics and untethered from melody. These compositions eventually took on a life of their own, and thus was the beginning of Contretemps.

 

Bolstered by a love of classic noise and experimental electronic records, Pronouncement travels between the sensibilities of Oneohtrix Point Never's Returnal, Merzbow's Hybrid Noisebloom, and Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II. Never one to shy away from shedding light on his influences, many of the song titles chosen by Ebner overtly reference the likes of Zoviet France, filmmaker Gaspar Noé, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and the landmark Mute Records compilation Tyranny of the Beat.

Though many tracks push against the rough edges of power electronics and industrial genres, the album when taken as a whole is at turns comical, soothing, ominous, and wistful. It's an honest look at the possibilities of experimental music, a wordless statement of gratitude, a pronouncement.

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