Press and Reviews

June 2001 Urb (John Digweed on Cover)


Kent Williams is an Iowan who runs his own Cornwarning label and masquarades as Chaircrusher, an IDM capo with an enormous back catalog of great tracks on line. "Photoshopped" takes live-sounding drums and piano and rearranges them into a skittish, caffeine-infused adventure. Check out "Psychological Warfare" for his version of helter-skelter drum & bass or "Nat" for some jazz-enhanced downtempo. Chaircrusher even makes a piece of event-specific audio installation art available for your ears: Download the two parts and play them simultaneously on two stereos for maximum effect. Chaircrusher's archive has been active for several years and is continually updated with new, quality music, making it a mystery as to why a bigger label hasn't yet wandered into his cornfields.

Review in Iowa City "Icon" May 6th 1999

Chair Crusher "Phase Change" (Corn Warning)

Phase Change documents the many sides of Chair Crusher, a.k.a. Iowa City's own electronic madman Kent Williams. This 14-track jaunt through the nether regions of machine music highlights four peridos of Williams' sonic constructions: electro, techno, drum and bass, and downtempo. As a result, his debut release transcends the dance floor by employing an array of influences. And regardless of what the Norman Rockwell-esque on the cover may suggest, there is nothing traditional about this music. Giving nods to everyone from Aphex Twin to DJ Shadow, Autechre, Plug, Squarepusher and the likes, Phase Change presents an eclectic mix of mechanical mood swings.

The opening piece, "Cornucopia(RMX)," is a veritable horn of plenty, spilling over with lush beats and electronics, carving a path for the remainder of the music to follow. "VazElectro" is a simmering piece of music assembled from a myriad of beeps and scronks milling about and stumbling into one another. Disjointed and disgruntled, the elements of this song are bound by an enormous, bass-filled expanse in the song’s structure.

"VazTechno" carries a little more weight than its older brother "VazElectro," but is, nonetheless, vastly consuming. "Phone Call From Memphis" and "Fungi" recall vague images of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn. Complete with samples from Sweet Honey in the Rock, "Ain’t No One Knows" marches on with the dexterity of a colony of army ants.

"Untitled (RMX)" is a swirling blend of tranquil "ethno-techno" soundscapes, while "Taste of Honey" is music for a dark and stormy night. Moody bass drones and highend washes of euphoric sound drift in and out of the music, weaving themselves together with samples of spoken text spouting bits of biographical information on an unknown subject.

Throughout the disc, only one track sheds the limitations implied by such rigid use of these four genres. The appropriately titled "Singular Matrix" emerges as pure experimentation, incorporating bits of electro, techno, drum-and-bass and downtempo. Bending the walls of each of the genres, it serves as a perfect reference to Williams’ musical accomplishments.