Problems that Fix Themselves


Amateurism may be the only escape from the tyranny of culture. I am not saying that Joshua Tabbia's bedroom noise manipulations are terribly done or that Tabbia isn’t an ace musician, all I’m saying is that Problems That Fix Themselves tape destructions are do not adhere to any “professional” rules regarding style or aesthetic beyond their limited means of production. There isn’t any attempt to capitalize on being lo-fi, being wasted, being young, being ironic, being ecstatic, being depressed, being hard, being naïve, or being (or doing) anything beyond just creating sounds. With this in mind, Tabbia hits almost every base in terms of what is possible with a tape machine and some scattered instruments lying around a messy bedroom.

Seconds jumps around from surging downer drones, to ridiculous, cracked hip-hop beats from a consumer grade keyboard, to Books-style found-sound sampling, circuit bending aural terrorism and at least two heartfelt passages by guest vocalist (and wife) Tori Blade. With his avoidance of sticking to one idea for too long, Seconds is one of the more intriguing noise records to show up in our inbox this year. I enjoy a good pummeling every once and awhile. A 40 minute full-nelson of cochlear destroying slabs of noise hits the spot every once and awhile. Harsh tones are plentiful on Seconds. They show up, at times, in spurts and fits, completely jarring the listener if the headphones are turned up too high. But Seconds isn’t harsh per se, it certainly isn’t menacing, or violent, it is just…abrasive even seems too intentional. It is just loud. The oscillating tones of “Jesse Duke” and the sand storm guitar squalor on “Song w Someone” get the closest to keeping the listener at arms length. When the noise is tempered just a bit we get downright gorgeous tones. The submerged drone of “JOB” is an excellent case in point. Heavy handed keyboard lines are plunked over submerged drones that lap gently underneath the ocean-upon-ocean of feedback static. “Ladies of Harley” does a similar thing.

In terms of real beauty on Seconds Tabbia has chosen to bookend his album with two overtly gorgeous tracks that feature the vocals of Tori Blade. The opening melody of “Noelle”, with its faux-organ (or melodica) chord progression and Blade’s almost operatic delivery is truly stunning. The melody is later repeated and recycled on the album’s closer “Jason Deeblecourt (seconds edit)”. Tabbia’s decision to begin on end on an otherworldly beauty swirling beneath the pall of tape hiss, simple keyboard lines and buzzing noise encapsulates the spontaneous and eclectic nature of Seconds, where every idea is a good one. 

Ryan H. 

Problems That Fix Themselves Myspace

Buy Seconds from Already Dead

November 24th, 2010