Radio Wonderland is Joshua Fried, performing live digital processing controlled by old shoes hit with sticks (Fried is a lifelong drummer), and a vintage Buick steering wheel (yes, he also plays a steering wheel). Radio Wonderland pulverizes mass media into little audio bits that dance.
Seize The Means recalls techno, tech house, microhouse, dub, and IDM (otherwise known as miscellaneous). But the randomness of the source material and the transparency of the processes set it apart. At any moment, percussion might morph into a voice, or vice-versa; a loop will contract into a waveform then expand back. The typical solidity of electronic beats gives way to viscous plasticity. “I like to call Radio Wonderland grooves vertically integrated” Fried says. “Instead of off-the-shelf drums and synths on the bottom and cool samples on top, everything--from kick, to riff, to funny bit of radio voice--comes from the airwaves, equally part of the collage.”
Seize The Means exhibits a playfulness rarely found in experimental or electronic dance music. In the midst of the throbbing “Good to Be Back In L.A.” suddenly the beat disappears and one is thrust into the middle of an ad, “staring down a crunchy taco”. But several tracks push past irony into pounding catharsis. Radio Wonderland’s process destroys as it creates, building new sounds from the shards of the old. The sensation can be both wrenching and exhilarating at once, especially when applied to the sound of a human voice. The title track is particularly cathartic, spinning a station ID, a traffic report, a bit of song and various snippets into a relentless, hypnotic meditation on “Power!…”, the spoken bit of sound that becomes its main motif.
released November 18, 2016
Produced by Radio Wonderland and Marcelo Añez
Masterered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk
Mix and edit by Joshua Fried and Marcelo Añez.
Artwork by Paul Dignan and Joshua Fried, Skeuomorphic Steganography by Radio Wonderland.
Design by Pixel Perfect Graphix and Kurt Hoffman.
Photos by Julie Blattberg.