Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sam Prekop: Old Punch Card

As frontman for The Sea And Cake, Sam Prekop uses his distinctively breathy voice on songs that yearn for tranquility, but he doesn’t sing at all on Old Punch Card, and peaceful ocean breezes seem to be the furthest thing from his mind. Combining field recordings, white-noise effects, and synthesizer experiments—with no discernible structure beyond whatever strikes Prekop’s fleeting fancy—Old Punch Card often seeks to actively disorient listeners with its sudden jumps from soothing hush to electronic dissonance. And while this isn’t the kind of album people would put on repeat and play in the background, it’s a creditable exercise in musique concrète, and a valuable listening experience for the adventurous. Prekop conjures synthetic sounds, then manipulates them until they sound almost organic, like rubber squeaking on plywood in “Knitting Needles,” or static slowed down until each individual component is audible in “Array Wicket.” It’s a weird, sometimes difficult sonic journey—and one that Prekop fans will want to experience with a good pair of headphones.

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