Pamela_ and Her Sons, ‘Hurt Plaza’

Posted by on December 5, 2017

CGI Records, 3.31.2017

Following the release of several outsider house appetizers, this spring Atlanta’s CGI Records served up their first full-length LP release — titled Hurt Plaza, it’s an entree of wonderful off-kilter electro bounce compliments of Pamela_ and her sons. Hurt Plaza sees Atlanta-based multimedia artist Alessandra Hoshor (usually half of Big Ded“dancing” around the edges of microhouse, juke, futurist pop and plunderphonics with arresting results. Hoshor never allows the listener to settle in; grooves dissipate as quickly as they arrive and a strong sense of unpredictability pervades.

Hoshor is undoubtedly an outlier in the best sense of the term though. She shies away from genre tropes, opting to hybridize a myriad of styles instead. We get moments of bizarro tribalism à la Ramzi (“All Out”) sidled next to free-form footwork à la Foodman (“Fantasy”) and sublime collagist club à la Ash Koosha on album standout “Sad Laugh.” A melange of frenzied sound exploration, Hurt Plaza is essential listening for the ADD generation, the net generation, post-modernists, et al… whatever you’re up to.

Taking a hyperactive approach to production, Hoshor imposes a nervous, kinetic energy on the listener that effectively transfixes and mobilizes simultaneously. Perhaps this is a symptom of what CGI calls “anxiety techno,” a fitting genre tagline that captures the inciting stimulus and paralysis forming the underlying paradox of Hurt Plaza.  Hoshor insists on destabilizing rhythmic patterns, adding a layer of antsiness to the sonic palette of techno, properly infusing its 4/4 foundation with aberrant accents.

Where traditional techno music steadily builds and propels, Hoshor’s microtonal techno vibrates in place like an electron in an excited state. At certain points, the percussion surges with intention, like the almost 2-step traction of “Down the Hall.” Elsewhere it backpedals, hovering in animated paralysis, as with the throbbing hum of “bom bom bop.” With Hurt Plaza, we feel the push and pull of forces unseen, each track a micro-organism bursting with a palpable sense of random activity: “Familiar palettes are rearranged and presented in a form completely alien, opening new pathways…”

Broadly speaking, Hurt Plaza is a testament to the idiosyncrasies of Hoshor as a producer and the expanding breadth of CGI Records’ catalog. The label has been active since 2013, releasing left-field house and techno 12” singles and EP’s from the likes of Golden Donna, TWINS and Russell E.L. Butler among others. As the first-full length release for CGI, Hurt Plaza shows that the label is cultivating homegrown experimentation outside of just the underground club sphere. As Atlanta isn’t particularly known for any regional electronic sound, this makes it fertile ground for outlier artists to thrive and dabble as they please.