A pop electronica track built of stuttering glitchy goodness says much about the prevalence of glitch, the way the once disruptive musical approach has been subsumed into everyday, general-interest listening. It also says a lot about the whole idea of disruption in general. One day’s disruption is the next’s foundation. It is all less a matter of the revolution being televised as it is of the revolution become a television mini-series. Yesterday’s ruptures become today’s comfort — or, more to the point: today’s points of cultural-geographic reference. Ed Apollo’s “Breathing Lessons” is instrumental electronic pop in which the castanets are virtual things, forged from snippets of tossed aside older tunes; the vocals are fractured like a splintered mirror. True to glitch’s origins, it all still sounds like a broken CD player. The sense is reinforced by the occasional guitar, which sounds like it’s playing alongside the busted stereo. The difference may be that when glitch originated, it was finding errors inherent in then state-of-the-art audio technology. Now, the CD is itself antiquated: no one expects it to work particularly well; its failings have been well documented. (Perfect sound forever? Please.) There is no telegraphed tsuris over data loss, no commentary on the fracturing of media, no concern about the diminishing presence of physical activity in culture production. Apollo’s “Breathing Lessons” is never anything less than refreshing. So, what does one call glitch when there is no glitch, when glitching has become a norm? Or does one just adjust one’s definition of glitch, and accept that commentary has become flavor?
Track originally posted for free download from the SoundCloud account of the Bad Panda Records label. More from Ed Apollo, who is based in Briston, England, at twitter.com/edbidgood and soundcloud.com/edapollo. There’s a edapollo.bandcamp.com account, but for the time being the cupboard is bare.