Inheriting a primitive synthesizer from his late grandfather opened up a portal for Cathode Ray Tube. “I knew about synthesizers but had never played one. I loved it from day one and drove my parents nuts playing that thing loud and poorly,” says CRT aka Charles Terhune. “And I still have that keyboard and many, many more.” This device inspired a search for different music than his peers, a break from the mundane reality of life.
“Pushing a machine into a place its creators never intended reveals amazing and sometimes disturbing consequences. I enjoy noise, distortion, fractured tones and the sound of things decomposing and falling apart. Though I’ve spent a lot of time trying to control my machines, recently I’ve begun to give them some simple instructions then let them loose in their own. More often than not they return with appealing, skewed and bizarre results.”
CRT’s music is a blend of styles and influences, some obvious, some obscure. “I love almost all music and listen to a wide variety of styles throughout the day. Most mornings I start off with dub but within an hour I might still be listening to Keith Hudson or maybe Johnny Cash, Judas Priest or Monolake or some Ethiopian jazz like Mahmoud Ahmed followed by Roxy Music.”
Listeners will no doubt hear the classic IDM and electronic influence in his music, of which some Sheffield stalwarts play a very large part. “I make no effort to disguise the fact that I worship fervently at the temple of Cabaret Voltaire and demigods Booth and Brown of the church of Autechre. Classic CV is the bedrock of my musical education while I suspect I’ll spend the rest of my life parsing and analyzing demigods Booth and Brown of the church of Autechre.
SOFTWARE: Ableton Live with plugins from Audio Damage, Sonic Charges, u-He, Waves, Valhalla, Tal, HY, Arturia, Full Bucket Music, DAT-Sounds, Izotope and Sample Science.
HARDWARE: Elektron Analog Rytm, Aturia Minibrute, Korg Poly-800ii, Line 6 delays and effects, Korg SX1, Roland TB3, Roland JV-1080, Korg MS2000B, Korg ER1 and EA1, Yamaha AN1X.
“To me, DARK ROADS FOR THE YOUNG MAGUS is an album of nine sonic rituals, like unspoken incantations. It is a glimpse at one person’s personal journey through a wounded landscape both internal and external. Each song is shows one aspect of a being finding themselves at a crossroads where they must choose one of two paths: the known world of comfort, safety, predictability but no growth or the unknown road leading into metaphoric darkness wherein lies danger and instability but also untold knowledge, power and strength.”
Cathode Ray Tube is perhaps the most prolific and underrated musician of the past two decades, and we’ve covered quite a few of his releases—a complex assortment of braindance, modular noise, and experimental electronics with an industrial backbone. “Brittle Stars” does for these ears what I’ve come to expect—broken bass, beats, and synthesized tones and drones flickering in the background. The blips and bleeps of CRT’s machinery really come to life on “Death Group,” a foray through nostalgic melodies, tangled technoid bits, and elements of Orbital styled rhythms dancing about blissfully. The title track treads upon darker pathways, its subdued brittle electrical pulses and loose percussive treatment creates the soundtrack to a far away world. Not surprisingly, CRT has been on our radar for years and the expansion of his electronic structures maintain their vivid and futuristic tendencies. You’ll have to wait until mid-January 2020 for this release, and it’ll be well worth it.