EXTENSIONS by Mark Templeton + Kyle Armstrong

I don’t know about you, but this is the first album I’ve personally come across that is explicitly a tribute to cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan. To celebrate the media-visionary’s 104th birthday, Mark Templeton and Kyle Armstrong have produced an audio-visual collaboration (on LP and DVD) that sample liberally from prior cultural works. Pretty intriguing stuff!

Vinyl LP £17.49 GRAPHICAL 001

Gatefold LP + DVD on Graphical Recordings.

  • Includes download code
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EXTENSIONS by Mark Templeton + Kyle Armstrong
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8/10 Laurie 08 January 2015

In an attempt to dissuade us from ever posting on Twitter again, conceptual electronica bandits Mark Templeton and Kyle Armstrong combine forces on Extensions, an audio representation of Canadian media commentator Marshall McLuhan’s predicted ‘digital collective consciousness’. If such a thing as cerebral noise exists, this record has kicked the scene off to a great start in 2015.

Speaking of years, try to imagine music in 2014. Bring all of those cute little albums and singles together into one mental picture, and what do you get? Probably a mess. A fragmented, homogenous mess, not unlike this paragraph. There’ll be snatches of a song here, a riff there, but more often than not it’ll be a distinct patchwork containing tiny bits of them all. This is more or less what these two dudes have tried to capture on Extensions in order to pay tribute to their prophet.

It’s essentially an ambient album featuring interplay between low undulating drone loops and irregular stutters of wildly sourced samples from degraded old media. There’s quite a mechanical tone to it all, chock full of crunchy clunks, hisses, and unchanging tones arranged into a seemingly random, but ever-changing collage. Office paté enthusiast Kim was saying that it sounds very sci-fi, Ian was saying that it sounds like Crunchy Nut. What a silly boy.

Occasionally a rhythmic pattern of blips emerges, but the majority of the time it’s a murky experimental melee like Frank Bretschneider + Steve Roden’s recent release. The creepy apocalypse haze tones of some of the more abstract Boards of Canada tracks is present too, to get you worried about all of the words of humanity coalescing into one big meaningless digital cesspool. Including these.


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