Decomposure is Caleb Mueller, a 29-year old jack-of-all-arts up in Kitchener, Ontario; or as he puts it, a “Graphic designer by day, asleep by night. Somewhere between them, music happens.” But in April 2010, the wiggle room between those two spaces suddenly shrunk, as Caleb and his wife Nicole became proud parents of a brand new baby girl. “You’re handed this tiny helpless bundle that is totally dependent on you, you literally hold its life in your hands; of course it changes you. But it actually took me awhile to truly ‘get’ it. There was no bolt-of-lightning moment where a switch flipped and I instantly matured into a fully-formed father - I needed time to process it all, and music was how I began to work it out.”
Let’s back up a bit: Caleb created Decomposure back in 2002 as a project to pursue a hyper-specific strain of elaborate experimental-polyrhythmic-glitchtronica sourced from diced up field recordings and found sound. With each passing album, he added more and more to the mix... until one day, it collapsed under its own weight. “I finally had to stop. The process had become a paralyzing slog - I was literally spending a solid month working out each minute. And when a software glitch wiped out nearly a year of work, that was the final nail in the coffin. But out of that frustration I came to realize all my theoretical clutter was premised on unlimited time. I’d set up all these challenges - sound sources, repetition, time signatures - but I’d never thought to limit my time.”
With the newfound demands of fatherhood already whittling his hours down, it was the perfect opportunity to make the leap. The solution was a simple idea: write/produce/record one full song every week, release it as a podcast on the weekend. Rinse, repeat. And so Caleb sunk every spare waking moment he could into the music, hermiting away at night to write, stealing time from lunch to hammer out a beat, layering caffeine-fueled harmonies at 3am, marathoning through weekend evenings to tie it all together. And that old abandoned album? It got a second lease on life, as salvaged bits and sketches were revived and reworked into full-fledged songs, unexpectedly integrating a sweeping 5-year arc into the project. A year later, he was sitting on dozens of brand new songs, which were polished, filtered, and winnowed into their final definitive form as Eating Chicken, Decomposure’s fifth full-length album.
You might expect Eating Chicken to be a mess of eclectic styles and ideas mashed together. Aaaand you’d be mostly right - for Decomposure, genre has always been a tool, not the toolbox, and so songs swing from sunny pop to mutant dancehall to skittering minimalism to searing noise and back again, all wrapped in his signature kitchen-sink life sampling. But beyond those superficial differences, those who stick around will find a deeper underlying unity that rewards repeat listens. It’s an album that tracks the journey from perpetual-teenageness to parenthood, examining denial and truth, art and compromise, ends and beginnings, and finally, growing up.
released 25 September 2012
words, music, production, design, etc: caleb mueller (socan/ascap)
engineering, postproduction: arnar helgi aðalsteinsson @ lalaland
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