We Remain Faded

Headphone Science

… the disc fades not, etching into one’s head with repeated listenings. e/i magazine, USA

De l’abstract hip-hop qui aurait sombré dans les limbes d’un océan d’ambient. Un excellent moment. Jade, France

Following up a number of web & CD-R releases (more recently Number 65 on No Type and I Can Only Remember Tomorrow on Subverseco), you can say it was about time Dustin Craig (known to lovers of fine electronica as Headphone Science and Elasticlego, alternately) has his music featured on a CD!

The six previously unreleased songs found on the We Remain Faded EP are probably his strongest and boldest material to date. No monotony to be found in this bristling display of Craig’s trademark chopped-up hip-hop style. Even if we wanted to make comparisons, we’d have a hard time, so why don’t you just listen to the audio clips?

Oh, & one more thing: this guy calls himself Headphone Science for a reason!

CD (IMNT 080)

  • Label: No Type
  • IMNT 080
  • 2003
  • UCC 771028808021
  • Total duration: 38:23
  • Sympathique case
  • 126 mm × 126 mm × 5 mm
  • 40 g

On the web

Some recommended items
In the press


Tobias C van Veen, e/i magazine, no. 3, June 1, 2004

No Type has blossomed from one of the first Net-based labels to a solid platform for experimental music, touching upon minimalist and improvisational electronics, noise, musique actuelle, renegade electro-acoustics - and with Headphone Science, sliced and diced hip-hop. Exploring cut-and-paste, rough-hewn beat tangents that bear reference to the sampledelia of Scott Herren (PreFuse 73), the slices of Anticon and the dark surrealism of Sixtoo (and possible other Spooky DJs as well), the Science (Dustin Craig) nonetheless also nods to the emotive feel that governs Boards of Canada. Craig recombinates classical melodies with contemporary digital techniques. Microscopic particles are embedded deep within rumbling breaks while traditional piano melodies hold the refrain, a hard-hitting approach that buoys its melancholia. Comparisons in this case are futile, and unnecessary - the Science expands upon sonic directions that are bubbling in the air today, and performs it well enough that the disc fades not, etching into one’s head with repeated listenings. That said, We Remain Faded crossfades its uniqueness into the vagaries of its predecessors and thus orbits the same demons and inspirations that guide the genre’s conventions. Breakout begins to rumble in the Science’s treatment of low, basstone-lines and the use of microsound and inventive percussion. Larcenous demonstrates flashes of inspiration with complicated programming and abstract samples, while the opening instrumental establishes the disc’s watermark. But it is To Dine in Distance that is the soft risk, incorporating a guy-girl break-up conversation alongside acoustic guitar. What saves Craig from indulgence is the supremely disjointed dub-treatment to the instruments and delicate trumpet - a successful experiment.

… the disc fades not, etching into one’s head with repeated listenings.


Franziska Petruschke, Unclesally’s, May 1, 2004

Interview with Dustin Craig

Vito Camarretta, The Vibes, January 11, 2004

Ad un anno dalla pubblicazione di We Remain Faded (produzione interessante e acclamata dalla critica - nonostante la modestia del suo artefice - sotto l’ombrello del suo progetto idm Headphone Science), ci siamo fatti una chiacchierata con Dustin Craig, che di seguito pubblichiamo integralmente.

Hi Mr.Craig. How are you?
I’m pretty good. Thank you for asking.

I’ve heard your nice album We Remain Faded. How could we consider it? A concept album or an exercise on the artistic path already walked by artists such Michael Franti, Funkstorung…? Or a sort of document of people “living in debasement”?
Thanks for the compliments. I’m always amazed that people enjoy that cd because, to me, it sounds outdated. Those songs were all created, I think, back in 2002 and the cd wasn’t released until sometime 2003. So they were already a year old when people heard em. Compared to the stuff I was doing at the time when We Remain Faded was released, or even now for that case, the music on that cd just seems really old when I listen to it.

But how would I consider this release?
I just wanted to make a good debut cd that was good to put on and smoke to. This was going to be my first legit disc and I wanted it to be something that represented me well and since I’m a smoker hence the title. I don’t think many people got that though.

What about your audio equipment?
Just a laptop & pc with a bunch of software. I do have a Korg Trinity and a Yamaha SU700 sampler that I used to use a lot when I was first starting out… but now they’re just collecting dust, which is sad, but it just became too much to carry all this stuff out when I would play a show. So I eventually went the laptop route which is a lot easier and now I find myself using mainly that and a pc when creating; but soon I’m gonna pull all that stuff out again. I’ve got some ideas on how to incorporate all that stuff together and get some pretty interesting results.

You seem to refer to scientific matters. What do you think about science and technology?
In your viewpoint, what are the relation between art and science?
To be honest I never really think about any of this and I don’t really want to come up with some pretentious answer to try and sound intelligent. My main concern is just to make music that sounds good and original. Sure the instruments I use are all electrical, so technology is obviously a part of this music; but what is the relation between art and science?
That’s like a Richard Devine type question. My music’s not that complicated. Maybe I can answer this like this though, as technology evolves sounds evolve… but that also goes for everything in life. Man, that question makes me feel like I’m back in school.

Let’s folk! What’s your favourite formula? Did you still try to apply it on your workouts?
Hehehe, what’s let’s folk? I’ve never heard that before. I’m not really sure what you mean here. I think you’re asking how do I go about making this music? And that’s simple. I just start with a sound. Could be a drum sound. Could be a glitchy little pop. Could be a sample from a movie. Could be anything. And then I just build off that and let everything just shape itself. I try to not give anything too much thought really. I just focus on the sounds and then you can hear what’s needed or what direction the song should go.In my opinion, To Dine in Distance is the apex of The already mentioned We Remain Faded. A sort of balance between hiphop and abstract jazz, a bit like Dj Krush and Dj Spooky.

Are there any artists or projects comparable to your opus?
Thanks. People seem to really like this one. I think it’s because of that trumpet sample. It’s pretty perfect. What’s weird is that was the easiest song to make that’s on that disc. I believe it was all done in just one night. So it’s funny that that’s the most favorite. Strengthens my belief even more that you shouldn’t try to over think your music just create and let it develop naturally.

Are there any artists or projects comparable to that song?
There’s probably tons…but I can’t think of any off hand at the moment.

You’re very young. But your debut has been critically acclaimed. We hope the opinion skilled journalists will not go to your head… What about your future project?
Well, I always have projects that I’m working on but I don’t really like to talk about anything until it’s definitely going to be heard. I also don’t want to say I’m going to do something and then not do it and then have people wonder whatever happened to this thing that I said I was going to do. It’s just better not to reveal so much you know. I can talk about a couple things that are coming out soon though. The first would be the long awaited release of the “Consider the Problems” cd on Skylab Operations. Similar sound as We Remain Faded… maybe a bit more idm. Then there are some great comps that’ll have a Headphone Science track on em. The “MD8” comp on N5MD and the “Fuzzy Boombox v.2” comp on FuzzyBox. Both of these look like they’re going to be great. I’m a fan of a lot of the other artists that are on those comps so it’s great to have a song amongst theirs. I can’t wait till I get my copies of these to hear. And I think that’s basically it. Also, if anyone wants, I just released an ep over at our own illmatik vibes_delete:thought
titled “Sun Sets Digital” that people can download for free.

What are the differences between your projects Headphone Science and Elasticlego?
Elasticlego is all the microsound/ambient/electroacoustic/4/4/techno-ish stuff and Headphone Science is the hip-hop/idm stuff.

As you “promoted” your work through netlabels, it could be interesting to know from you your opinion on theire future. Finally we could say netlabels are demonstrating that artistic purposes are overwhelming commercial ones in music biz?
Well, I think that’s pretty apparent, netlabels aren’t in it for the money. I can’t speak for everyone but I can talk about ivdt and some of the other ones I’ve been a part of like No Type, Observatory & Subverseco. And the main focus for each of these is that it’s all about the music; not the money or fame. It’s about releasing quality music from talented artists that probably would never get heard due to the over saturation of mediocre artists out there that flood the other sites like mp3.com and such. It’s also about giving music away for free. There’s nothing better than getting some great music without having to pay for it. It can really turn a bad day into a good one. And for the future of netlabels… I think more and more will pop-up. It seems each year we gain 50 more; but that’s a good thing, means more music for free.


Julien Jaffré, Jade, November 10, 2003

No Type a sans doute marqué un tournant dans son approche musicale autant qu’une petite révolution dans la ligne directrice de sa production, en sortant l’an passé des références aux pourtours «mélodiques». Fers de lance dans des domaines autres, essentiellement la musique improvisée et la création électroacoustique, David Turgeon a ouvert le champ des possibles du label en offrant une alternative musicale qu’on qualifiera de «narrative et rythmique»; l’occasion pour des formations tel qu’Œuf Korreckt, et à présent Headphone Science de laisser libre court à une imagination débridée.

Une aventure que ce Headphone Science, barrée par le capitaine du navire.

Pour ambient que soit le ton général de l’album, s’affiliant auditivement à des formations expertes et trop rares tels que The Orb (et ses premiers chef-d’œuvres) ou FSOL (période Dead Cities), cet album reste profondément marqué par le hip-hop et l’essence de son rythme.

Une atmosphère obscure et ombrée, qui garde pourtant une visée optimiste; un climat sur lequel vient s’agglomérer une formidable foule de rythmiques énergiques, saccadées, finement ciselés comme une exégèse / une interprétation personnelle des travaux mis en avant par Scott Herren voire quelquefois d’Autechre (Air Bubble Material). Dustin Craig (Headphone Science), résident d’Oakland en Californie réalise pour No Type, après divers albums en ligne sur Subverseco et Observatory un We Remain Faded d’une grande lucidité et attractivité (le très jazzy To Dine in Distance). De l’abstract hip-hop qui aurait sombré dans les limbes d’un océan d’ambient. Un excellent moment.

De l’abstract hip-hop qui aurait sombré dans les limbes d’un océan d’ambient. Un excellent moment.


Dax, Übersteiger, no. 65, November 1, 2003


Roberto Michieletto, Music Club, November 1, 2003

Headphone Science (aka Dustin Craig, da Oakland) appartiene a quella schiera di musicisti che sbucano fuori dal nulla e piazzano subito il colpo vincente. Sei pezzi distribuiti su 38’ che compongono un lavoro breve o un EP esteso (a seconda dei punti di vista), in cui ci si ritrova catapultati in un contesto metropolitano, fatto di spy movies, sobborghi poco illuminati, scarti ritmici downtempo oppure mutuati dal trip-hop, parentele non ben definite (seppur esistenti) con Dj Shadow, convinti e riusciti agganci melodici, loop suadenti, soluzioni jazzy, groove morbidi e un lavoro meticoloso sulle voci (tagliate, ricomposte, filtrate, ecc.). Un’opera prima di tutto rispetto e di cui è previsto un seguito sulla label viennese Skylab Operations.


LD, Coda Magazine, November 1, 2003


Harald Wiltsche, Skug, no. 56, October 24, 2003

Es ist mittlerweile kein Geheimnis mehr, dass auf Net-Only-Labels hervorragende Musik veröffentlicht wird, wie auch hier im Fall von Headphone Science. Gleich vorweg: es handelt sich um keinen Web-Release, die vorliegende Veröffentlichung erscheint als CD und wie der Pressemitteilung zu entnehmen ist, ist ein weiterer Release auf dem Wiener Skylab-Label geplant. Und das ist auch gut so, denn Headphone Science ist eine absolute Bereicherung für alle Addicts von Hip Hop-orientiertem IDM. Tighte Grooves, teilweise an Boards of Canada erinnernde Vocal-Schnipsel und sphärische Soundbackings, das sind die Hauptzutaten einer EP, die direkt und ohne Umweg den Kopfnicker-Button anspricht. Word.


HAW, Medienturm, October 23, 2003

Es ist mittlerweile kein Geheimnis mehr, dass auf Net-Only-Labels hervorragende Musik veröffentlicht wird, wie auch hier im Fall von Headphone Science. Gleich vorweg: es handelt sich um keinen Web-Release, die vorliegende Veröffentlichung erscheint als CD und wie der Pressemitteilung zu entnehmen ist, ist ein weiterer Release auf dem Wiener Skylab-Label geplant. Und das ist auch gut so, denn Headphone Science ist eine absolute Bereicherung für alle Addicts von Hip Hop-orientiertem IDM. Tighte Grooves, teilweise an Boards of Canada erinnernde Vocal-Schnipsel und sphärische Soundbackings, das sind die Hauptzutaten einer EP, die direkt und ohne Umweg den Kopfnicker-Button anspricht. Word.


DC, Nightlife, October 14, 2003

EP regroupant des pièces précédemment impossibles à trouver, ce We Remain Faded regorge de petites surprises. C’est que l’Américain Dustin Craig porte très bien son nom. Les pièces ici présentées n’ont rien à envier à celles des plus habiles manipulateurs de sonorités. Jouxtant la frontière particulière des Boards of Canada, Headphone Science déconstruit et ressert des rythmes hip-hop sur une trame atmosphérique planante. Un exercice complexe qui a comme intention de réjouir les oreilles de ceux qui s’y attarderont.

Un exercice complexe qui a comme intention de réjouir les oreilles de ceux qui s’y attarderont.


SVS, Rif Raf, October 14, 2003

Vers vocht uit de druipende uiers van het Canadese No Type-label. Het duo Coin Gutter maakt niets ontziende, hard industriële en dan weer sacrale elektronische ambient en noise, vaak doorspekt met moderne compositie. Denk aan Yannis Kyriakides in een remix door Merzbow.

Oeuf Korreckt is, ondanks zijn lullige groepsnaam, een bijzonder groovy elektronicacollectief dat met scherpe, licht industriële ritmes erg doeltreffend uit de hoek komt. Alleen jammer van die introverte, weinig verheffende productie.

De sampling-artieste Diane Labrosse werkte de voorbije tien jaar met klinkende namen zoals Ikue Mori, Martin Tétreault en Zeena Parkins. Elektronicafreak A_Dontigny was dan weer lid van het beruchte collectief Napalm Jazz. Tesamen brengen Labrosse en Dontigny spannende, verrassende en verontrustende elektronica -en ambientpassages die je het best beluistert met de deur op slot en het huisalarm op extra sensitive.

We Remain Faded van Headphone Science is de meest beklijvende release bij No Type. Met zijn mix van stuiterende hiphop en aan flarden gesneden raps leunt dit project van Dustin Craig nog het meest aan bij Prefuse 73. Maar de epische soundtrackmuziek die Craig in zijn composities verstopt, sleept deze plaat weg uit het avanthophoekje.

Twee erg leuke 10inch-vinylletjes zijn die van de Zweedse Claudia Bonarelli en de Amerikaan Todd Brooks a.k.a. Books on Tape. Met respectievelijk wollige clickhouse en punky elektrobeats zetten zij de street credibility van No Type extra in de verf.


Laurent Diouf, Wreck This MeSS — Paris, October 1, 2003

Le premier track (We Remain Faded) mélange breakbeats softs et textures mélodiques sur une cadence assez tranquille, propre à de l’electronica mid-tempo. C’est-à-dire sur une rythmique qui n’exclue pas une certaine langueur du fait de mélodies évasives… Le deuxième titre (Games) est par contre beaucoup plus surprenant. Passée une courte plainte électronique en guise d’intro, une voix hachée menue par un sampler tourne en boucle sur des breakbeats qui sont, cette fois ci, beaucoup plus marqués. Après trois bonnes minutes de ce régime, des nappes apparaissent et le rythme se renforce encore. Les samples laissent transparaître une vague consonance hip-hop qui contraste singulièrement avec l’harmonie nonchalante du clavier. Un étrange mélange, à la magie séduisante, savamment élaboré par un dénommé Dustin Craig qui tente de prolonger l’expérience sur le morceau suivant sans parvenir toutefois à égaler ce pur moment de bonheur, avant de se résoudre à verser dans l’electronica décousue (Air Bubble Material) puis le dub jazzy (To Dine in Distance) et de récidiver enfin une dernière fois (Life Struggles Constant).

Un étrange mélange, à la magie séduisante, savamment élaboré…


Morten Bruhn, Geiger, October 1, 2003

Bag dæknavnet Headphone Science finder man den unge amerikanske musiker Dustin Craig. Craig har, som så mange andre unge, håbefulde elektroniske musikere, hen af vejen fået lagt en masse af sit tidlige materiale ud på diverse mp3-sites, hvor man, hvis man leder grundigt efter, kan følge hans musikalske udvikling fra de første spæde, elektroniske forsøg frem til den lyd, han har udviklet under projektnavne som Subverso og Observatory. Det var da også disse mp3-filer, der for et stykke tid siden fik selskabet No Type til at falde pladask for hans melodiske electronica – så meget, at det gav ham tilbuddet om at indspille dette minialbum.

Headphone Science’s musik kan bedst beskrives som en hybrid af Boards of Canadas flydende, samplerbaserede electronica og Prefuse 73’s mere opklippede hip hop. Albummets seks numre tager alle udgangspunkt i denne grundformel – dog har indholdet et personligt præg på den måde, at Craigs meget åbne og lyse produktion på fremragende vis fremhæver de rullende beatstrukturer, der musikalsk binder numrene sammen. Ellers bæres udgivelsen frem af mærkeligt velkendte beatstrukturer og manipulerede rap-sekvenser – med det enkelte ”men”, at en række små melodi-linier af og til får lov til at kile sig ind og åbne op for et mere nuanceret udtryk.

We Remain Faded er et ganske vellydende, men også langt hen af vejen temmelig irrelevant minialbum. Craig læner sig alt for meget op af sine åbenlyse forbilleder - kun sammenblandingen af deres respektive musikalske udtryksmåder er i grunden hans. Som lytter sidder man i hvert fald tilbage med en fornemmelse af, at Craig har haft så travlt med at få styr på den rent tekniske side af musikken, at han helt har glemt den kreative del. Derfor føjer We Remain Faded sig desværre til den efterhånden lange række af vellydende, intetsigende electronica-udgivelser, der ikke for alvor burde være nået længere end til mp3-stadiet – og som man lidt for gerne fader ned for før de når til vejs ende.


Javier Blánquez, GoMag, no. 38, October 1, 2003


Franziska Petruschke, Unclesally’s, October 1, 2003


Walt Miller, Splendid E-Zine, September 26, 2003

Headphone Science is Dustin Craig’s hip-hop-informed IDM project, and We Remain Faded is a debut of sorts, although Craig has put out other, web-only releases. If you’ve followed this guy at all, you’ll know of his sharp knack for beat programming as well as his skill at creating ambient soundtracks.

We Remain Faded is a major evolutionary step for Headphone Science’s sound. The title track kicks things off with sumptuous melodies reminiscent of Boards Of Canada, suggesting all of the Scottish outfit’s lovely, environmental hallmarks, but with more pronounced beat work. Craig fills his tracks with a dense percussive onslaught, a rat-a-tat-tat cadence that follows the booty-shaking downbeat as much as leads it into a smooth, prickly hypnosis. It’s a Warp meets Ninja Tune aesthetic, crossing Autechre’s austere electro-pop with Cold Cut’s b-boy savvy.

Things get a bit radical — at least for Headphone Science — on the tracks that incorporate lyrics. Games brings in rap vocals chopped into barely recognizable bits (think Amon Tobin’s Verbal) and strewn in time with the track’s stripped-down, ghetto-level IDM. Larcenous (with its drum ’n’ bass meter) and Life Struggles Constant continue in this vein, offering plenty of cushiony tones and staccato lyricism — an effect that I love. After all, once you get past their message, rap vocals become part of the percussion section; Craig understands this, and has embraced his vocals’ rhythmic role. To Dine in Distance gets a special mention; a fantastic jazzy jam, it replaces the aforementioned lyrics with swooning acid trumpet and guitar-laden grooves. It’s a welcome change of pace, with an amazing payoff.

While We Remain Faded doesn’t offer new insights into music, the album furthers the thread of futurist hip hop in deliciously accessible ways. Something like this would be at home on the Lex (Warp’s sister label) imprint next to Boom Bip and other boundary blurrers. Don’t be surprised to hear Headphone Science make just such a debut in the future.

… you’ll know of his sharp knack for beat programming as well as his skill at creating ambient soundtracks.

Tech-hop courtesy of Dustin Craig

Erkki Luuk, Areen, September 23, 2003

Tech-hop. Kusjuures jälle on süüdi Kanada (kui päritolumaa). Dustin Craig on mehe nimi ja see, mis ta teeb, eemaldub nii paljudest klieedest, nii hip- kui ka avant-hopi omadest, et on põhjust tähele panna. See pole ka mingi veretu hübriid indiga, mida hip-hopis viimasel ajal ette on tulnud. Muusika on endiselt käre, kuid mitte peavoolu paugutamine ega ka mitte ainult heli(efekti)de salatile rõhuv nagu mingit liiki avant-hop. Headphone Science on igati loogiline ja sidus, kohati instrumentaalne, kohati dnb-stiilis MC-ga. Tavalisest hip-hopist eristab see, et HS lisab käigupõhisele meloodiale veel ühe, pikema meloodiakihi, mis lähendab teda IDM-le (nagu ka see, et see meloodia loo arenedes muutub). Prefuse 73 ja Common on audis. 8/10.

La Recensione

Filippo Boccarossa, Idbox, September 20, 2003

Il confine tra dub, idm e drum’n bass è estremamente sottile e sfocato in questa micro-opera di debutto di Dustin Craig. Il giovane compositore di Oakland, meglio conosciuto con i moniker Headphone Science ed ElasticLego, infatuato tanto dalla musica concreta quanto dagli esperimenti elettro-radicali di Richard D James e Kid 606, si cimenta in un’accattivante session in cui ogni brano rivendica una propria, scalpitante, autonomia. Con un incipit come We Remain Faded, emozionante coacervo di umori dub scandito da eleganti intromissioni di tastiere, è impossibile non gridare alla rivelazione. La scarnificata jungle di Games, ripulita con minuzia da qualsiasi enfasi ritmica, e l’hip hop sfigurato, ridotto a mero corpo simulacrale, di Larcenous e Life Struggles Constant lasciano trasparire un’indole da “bricoleur” che si esprime al meglio nei grotteschi esperimenti di Air Bubble Material, in cui nervosismo glitch e tappeti ritmici down-tempo si fondono con scaltra naturalezza, e nelle bizzarra nomenclatura sonora di To Dine in Distance, raffinata da gustose sonorità jazz. Con un debutto simile è quasi impossibile non nutrire grandi aspettative per il futuro.

Con un debutto simile è quasi impossibile non nutrire grandi aspettative per il futuro.


bleed, De:Bug, September 18, 2003

Sehr smoothe rockende Clickhoptracks, wenn man das sagen darf. Die Beats leicht vertrackt aber immer mit einem straighten Groove verbunden, die Sounds sehr smooth und dubbig, gelegentliche Raps klingen eher etwas stark nach Shoutern und der Gesamteindruck kann sich nicht davon lösen, dass die Beats eher Jams sind und das Ganze ein wenig dark klingt und etwas zu sehr bekifft. Dennoch ein Act, den man im Auge behalten sollte, denn wenn er sich entscheidet von den Break-Freestyle nicht Richtung Jazz zu gehen, dürfte das sehr interessant werden. Auf dem Label erscheinen übrigens dieses Jahr noch Alben von Tomas Jirku, Claudia Bonarelli und einigen anderen auf die man sehr gespannt sein darf. 4/5



Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural, September 15, 2003

Album d’esordio per Dustin Craig, sotto l’alias Headphone Science, dal Canada, modulando battute hip hop e suggestioni filmiche da colonne sonore, oblique melodie e trattamenti elettronici, esibendo attitudine celebrale, gusto ed efficace semplicità. Solo sei le incisioni. Interessantissima la commistione dei groove cadenzati e metropolitani con le altrettanto ruvide scansioni dei suoni più elettronici, orientati sia a distorsioni ‘click and glitch’ che a concettuali loop di derivazione jazz (To Dine in Distance). Partiture digitali e pulsioni che proiettano in territori contemporanei le intuizioni dei ritmi partoriti dalle strade. Uno stile personalissimo e godibile, astratto e allo stesso tempo melodico, giochi (Games) dai molti risvolti, che testimoniano ancora quanto le commistioni degli stili siano feconde per l’elaborazione di nuove strategie musicali. Un uscita particolare, mentre già si aspettano le prossime produzioni che saranno realizzate a Vienna per la Skylab Operations.

… esibendo attitudine celebrale, gusto ed efficace semplicità.


Lecker elektro, September 15, 2003

Huups, noch nie was von gehört und dann so eine CD! Ganz herausragend was Headphone Science aka Dustin Craig aus Oakland hier vorlegt! Hip Hop mit broken Samples und abstrusen Sound-Schnipseln, doch immer so, dass einem das Herz aufgeht! Klingt mitunter wie Kruder & Dorfmeister auf LSD, nach einem Anfall von geistiger Genialität. Schwer begeisternd!

Schwer begeisternd!


Fabrice Allard, EtherREAL, September 15, 2003

On n’avait jamais entendu parler de Headphone Science, et c’est presque normal puisqu’il s’agit là de son premier véritable CD si l’on omet 2 précédentes sorties disponibles sur internet dont Number 65, un Ep dispo chez No Type, et Setsumei, autre Ep sorti par Observatory Online. C’est ainsi que Dustin Craig, basé à Oakland, a peaufiné un style aujourd’hui en pleine effervescence, à savoir un joli mélange electronica et hip-hop.

Du hip-hop il ne garde pas grand chose sur We Remain Faded, le premier titre de cet album. A part une rythmique très présente qui nous paraîtra même brute et sèche, l’album débute par une lente mélodie douce et nonchalante que quelques notes de piano viendront illuminer sur la fin.

Ce n’est qu’avec Games que ces influences prennent le dessus avec des voix syncopées. Cet effet semble d’ailleurs aussi bien dû au chanteur lui-même qu’à une édition numérique afin de coller au rythme et d’accentuer ce hachage. Comme souvent chez Headphone Science, c’est un duo homme-femme qui est responsable des voix, et celles-ci restent feutrées, pas agressives et bien intégrées à la musique, elle-même superbement douce et mélodique. Larcenous est un ravissement du genre, mélodie façon débuts de Warp, electronica intégrant tous les effets du genres, faisant penser à Funkstorung, mais en plus mélodique. Il s’agit là du genre de mélange qui devrait séduire ceux qui apprécient le travail de Sixtoo.

Il est vrai qu’étant donné le nombre croissant de productions dans le style, cet album de Headphone Science aura peut-être du mal à se faire remarquer. Pourtant quelques originalités comme un violoncelle et des cordes pincées ou frappées confèrent une ambiance asiatique à Air Bubble Material. De même To Dine in Distance sort du lot avec son ambiance de vieux polar: bruit de pas, quelqu’un compose un numéro de téléphone, dialogue d’un couple samplé, le tout posé sur une mélodie de trompette embrumée et un accompagnement de guitare avec rythmique downtempo.

We Remain Faded est un disque agréable, plaisant, immédiat, bien fichu, que l’on va peut-être sur-noter rien que pour ces quelques (pas si) mauvaises raisons. On n’a juste pas envie de bouder le plaisir que l’on a eu à écouter et réécouter cet album.

… un disque agréable, plaisant, immédiat, bien fichu…

Triphop, you don’t stop

Ola Andersson, Dagensskiva, September 12, 2003

Triphopen dog i samma stund som Tricky gick av scenen inne i Gino den där kvällen 1995 och lämnade plats för PJ Harvey. Då hade han hunnit bryta en låt för att det lät “fucked” och frågat om ingen i publiken hade en spliff att bjuda på. Jodå, visst hade de det.

Triphopen kanske aldrig har sammanfattats lika väl som den kvällen.

Men precis som andra snabbt avklarade trender (hip-house, electroclash, 2Step) tappade media intresset ungefär samtidigt. Andra grejer var roligare. Och artisterna som hamnat i triphop-facket fick övertyga alla än tydligare om att de inte alls spelade triphop och att de inte visste vad triphop var och att de minsann spelade helt egen, unik musik som inte gick att kategorisera.


Och triphopen har levt och frodats ända sedan Massive Attack kickstartade genren med Blue Lines. Fast under andra namn. DJ Shadow försökte övertyga alla om att Endtroducing… minsann var hiphop och inget annat, fast alla visste att det var en triphopskiva. Så har det fortsatt. Den enda gång triphop används idag är att beskriva hur otroligt trist en skiva är. Tyvärr.

När We Remain Faded landar i min hand visste jag inte alls vad jag skulle förvänta mig av enmansprojektet Dustin Craigs debut. “IDM style, highly melodic & catchy with film soundtrack samples” konstaterar biografin.


Resan börjar med titelspårets svävande och lågmälda knasterelektronik som får mig att tänka på Maps + Diagram. Men ganska snart står det klart att titelspåret är mer undantag än regel.

För merparten av We Remain Faded dansar omkring hemma hos två helt andra artister: DJ Shadow och Akufen.

Längst ner rullar hela tiden tunga, släpande rytmer omkring, ibland rätt raka hiphoprytmer, ibland nedrökta drum’n’bass-beats i halvfart. Ovanpå det läggs musiken, men inte förrän den klippts sönder, hackats upp, malts ner, scratchats sönder och tvingats ihop igen med bultpistol.

Som i tio minuter långa Games där rösterna från en manlig (som låter som det skulle kunna vara KRS-ONE) och en kvinnlig rappare scratchas i bitar med ett fascinerande sätt (ja, och så är det någon som med jämna mellanrum stryper en katt, bara för att). I To Dine in Distance är det en vemodig jazztrumpet som styckas upp på samma sätt. Life Struggles Constant skulle kunna vara plockad från Aphex Twins Selected Ambient Works 85-92, klädd i ett kaos av röster som tvingats ner i en mixer på maxeffekt.

Men hela tiden finns det en melodi som svävar fram ovanför det vansinnesdansande avgrundskaoset runtomkring. Det musiken på We Remain Faded har gemensamt är att allt är byggt kring melodin. Det är där hjärtat finns. Kaoset tillåts aldrig ta överhanden.

Redan efter 38 minuter är resan slut. Life Struggles Constant klipps brutalt av mitt i en takt. Och det är den känslan som också sammanfattar We Remain Faded, den känns tyvärr lite rumphuggen, fast på ett bra sätt. Jag vill helt enkelt ha mer.

Kalla Headphone Science vad du vill. IDM. Triphop. Electronica. Inte för att det spelar så mycket roll.

We Remain Faded är ett av årets mest intressanta och mest skruvade album. 7/10


Spex, no. 269, September 1, 2003

Als Prefuse-Epigone könnte man wohl Dustin Craig aus Oakland/Kalifornien bezeichnen, weil der als Headphone Science auf seiner Debüt-LP»We Remain Faded« HipHop in feine DSP-Einheiten zervröselt und Stimmen (Jeru, KRS One, Kool Keith?) in kleinste Phoneme zerlegt. Aber er macht das ebenso überzeugend und kraftvoll wie kürzlich der lieder unterschätzte Moblin. Doof, dass man eben diese beiden Platten anscheinend nur als CD kaufen kann, denn auf Vinyl wären sie prima Tools zum Rocken avancierter Indie-HipHop-Dancefloors.


Down-tempo, September 1, 2003

Assemblage dansant avec juste ce qu’il faut de dérapages dans les rythmes. Une musique vibrante (We Remain Faded) parcourue de secousses venues tout droit électriser le hip hop mental de Games. Un titre qui d’ailleurs prend des allures de Boards of Canada sur la longueur tout comme Life Struggles Constant. Pas de texte à proprement parler mais quelques échos poitrinaires sur des samples hip-hop, des mots qui restent compréhensibles (Larcenous). Mais Headphone Science ne s’en tient pas là et joue de la guitare et du saxo langoureux sur un downtempo apprivoisé (To Dine in Distance). Signé sur No Type entité de Montréal, Dustin Craig d’Oakland (Californie) règne en maître sur ses abstractions assez vertigineuses, ouvertes sur les breaks et autres clicks mais remplit tout aussi bien son contrat cinématique. Un album fait de sobriété qui ne lasse pas. A recommander pour une écoute au casque mais avec un tel nom. We Remain Faded est le prélude à un nouvel album à sortir sur Skylab Operations, basé à Vienne et que l’on souhaite tout aussi accrocheur.

… abstractions assez vertigineuses, ouvertes sur les breaks et autres clicks mais remplit tout aussi bien son contrat cinématique.


Nicola Catalano, Blow Up, no. 64, September 1, 2003

Dustin Craig, in arte Headphone Science (Craig usa parimenti la sigla Elasticlego), è statunitense, ma guarda caso il suo album viene pubblicato da una delle etichette più importanti locate a Montréal, ovvero l’emergente No Type. We Remain Faded è giocato su un registro hip hop un tantino monocorde, sebbene un buon senso melodico e l’efficace campionamento di impudica tromba jazz-lounge in To Dine in Distance lo rendano tutt’altro che privo d’interesse. (6/7)


veg.b, Raveline, September 1, 2003


Von Falk, Somamag, August 31, 2003

Headphone Science ist Dustin Craig aus Oakland / Kalifornien, und unter dem Synonym Elasticlego auch in Ambient-Gefilden tätig. Einer Reihe von Web-Releases folgt nun seine erste CD-Veröffentlichung als Headphone Science.

We Remain Faded überzeugt mit einem durchweg gelungenem, melodischen Mix aus IDM, Hip Hop-Beats, experimentellen Sounds und subtilen Ambient-Elementen. Hinzu gesellen sich Jazz-Anleihen, gehackstückelte Rap-Vocals und Film-Samples. Einige der 6 Tracks erhalten durch die Verwendung von Piano-, Cello-, und Trompeten-Sounds eine eher melancholische Färbung, während andere durch den Einsatz der gecutteten Vocals straighter nach vorne gehen und mehr in Richtung Hip Hop abzielen. Leider ist der unterhaltsame Mix schon nach 38 Minuten zu Ende, aber es besteht Hoffnung - ein volles Album namens Consider The Problems soll noch in diesem Jahr auf dem Wiener Label Skylab Operations erscheinen.


I Khider, Exclaim!, August 28, 2003

We Remain Faded has the cool savvy usually found in better hip-hop records and would be the ideal album to soundtrack skateboard or dirt bike trick film footage. With surgical beats, fader perforated vocals and Ginsu-sharp IDM breaks, We Remain Faded inspires an adrenaline rush track after track. Headphone Science is what might happen if DJ Cam dabbled in IDM, infusing an attitude-driven strut rather than the customary sprint found in the likes of Phonem. The tracks are satisfyingly long while scientist Dustin Craig outdoes himself with mad skills. This album rocks.

… ideal album to soundtrack skateboard or dirt bike trick film footage.


Steve Lalla, Hour, August 14, 2003

Prolific Montréal-based experimental label No Type hit the jackpot with the stunning CD debut of Dustin Craig’s newest alter identity. Oakland’s Craig, who records also as Elasticlego, delivers a thematically consistent, listener-friendly IDM gem with this 7-track release. At the risk of taking away from the originality of the EP, I might describe it as the genius offspring of Akufen’s short-splice sample methods and Timbaland’s catchy breakbeat production. Or, alternately, KRS-One meets Boards of Canada. Thick, heady hip hop beats flow under a perfectly textured barrage of staccato rap snippets. Missy Elliott on ketamine, perhaps? We Remain Faded’s only drawback is its 38-minute length, but sources inform us that Headphone Science’s full length, Consider The Problems, is due out later this year. Cutting edge Discman food.

Cutting edge Discman food.


Bart Plantenga, wReck thiS MeSS, July 25, 2003

Deconstructive strategies applied to rap, hiphop, film soundtracks, and poésie with interesting if mixed results. Reminds me a bit of the mid-80s experiments with parsed poetics, concrete poetry and early cut and paste composition.


François Couture, AllMusic, July 18, 2003

For his first solo album (presented under the moniker Headphone Science), Dustin Craig put together a short, listener-friendly assemblage of intelligent, danceable tunes that don’t share the meticulous coldness of IDM. The music on We Remain Faded has a strongly whimsical, playful side that brings it close to the productions of Books on Tape and I Am Robot and Proud. The title track infuses dub into an otherwise IDM tune, thumping yet very ambient and gentle. Games and Larcenous take a very different direction. Sampled vocals steal the spotlight, pushing forward a warped hip-hop/techno sound that gets a bit too repetitive for its own good (the 10-minute Games would gain from a trip to the editing block). Air Bubble Material and To Dine in Distance are more substantial offerings and represent a much more fruitful direction for Craig. Cello (in the first track) and trumpet (in the second) hooks accompany beats that are just askew enough to get hold of your attention. They also emit a certain atmosphere of melancholia that works well with their sketchy melodies. Many electronica producers would have chosen to release these tracks under different monikers to sort them out by sub-styles and target them to specific audiences. The fact that Craig embraces his eclectic influences works to his advantage: We Remain Faded keeps the listener guessing while going down easy.

… a short, listener-friendly assemblage of intelligent, danceable tunes…


Mark Teppo, Earpollution, July 9, 2003

After a number of successful web releases with No Type, Subverseco, and Observatory, Dustin Craig has released his first CD under the name of Headphone Science. Cleaving closely to the two pieces of his name, Craig delivers six tracks of vocal cut-up flavored IDM that will fill your headphones nicely.

We Remain Faded is propelled along by a solid kick drum beat. Colored by thin shards of digital noise, the track washes over you with restful melodies that harkens back to Amber-era Autechre. If this is Craig’s nod to what has gone before, it is a very solid nod and well worth the price of admission for this eight-minute slice of blissful chilled ambience. Air Bubble Material is also chillout room material, colored with a little sharper tempo and the inclusion of droning cellos and sprightly plucked violins to the click and skitter of the digital beats.

Games finds Craig leaping forward to the more current phenomena of throwing cut-up hip-hop vocals into the mix. Like Amon Tobin and Prefuse 73, Craig slices and dices the vocal track over his beats and melodies, dropping his ADD-addled scat singer onto an otherwise laidback IDM track. Cut-up vocals populate the most of the remaining tracks on We Remain Faded, adding a certain amount of grit to an otherwise pristine electro-beat environment. Beats squelch and skitter, melodies caper and slink, and hip-hop voices are Ginsu’ed with gleeful abandon. The technique adds a human element (albeit a scattered and fragmented one) to an otherwise digital landscape. The closer Life Struggles Constant fuses the Autechre ambience of the beginning with the precise beats and echo-driven and cut-up vocals of the middle tracks into a thoroughly successful summation of what Headphone Science has to offer.

But just prior this closing statement, we have To Dine in Distance which, like We Remain Faded, pulls out all the stops. While the rest of the tracks on the record are solid players in the IDM field, these two tracks really make the record shine. To Dine in Distance is like the lost track from DJ Krush and Toshninori Kondo’s sublime Ki - Oku, filled with sharp beats and a lonely trumpet melody. Craig applies the same backmask and cut-up methodology to the trumpet line that he uses on the hip-hop vocals in the previous tracks. Tack on a lazy Spanish guitar player and a stolen conversation between distant lovers and we’ve got a solid winner on our hands.

Apparently Craig has a full-length release planned for later this year on Vienna-based Skylab Operations. You know I’ll be Googling up their site later tonight and bookmarking their shopping cart for the record’s eventual release. Craig’s work as Headphone Science is very good and We Remain Faded shows a deft hand that is worth adding to your collection.

… we’ve got a solid winner on our hands.


Jeremy Keens, Ampersand Etcetera, no. 2003_h, July 1, 2003

More from No Type — following from the bulk seen just recently. Another ep, there are also some vinyl ones on the way, participating in the No Type real/on-line series.

We Remain Faded is basically an instrumental — long soft tones, rapid rim hits dancing over the sound space, a strong bass and crunchy claps giving a rhythm with squiggles and scrapes over. Some bigger washes and breath like snatches together with interference stutters complete the main underbody, and then a slow melody slides through creating a lovely relaxed mood over the shifting ground — some breaks for a breather but nicely balanced.

The next track, Games, is the one that was on the sampler and is a 10 minute delight. Tones, occasional cat squall (that signals direction changes) and a strong drum rhythm have thrown highly chopped and looped rap over them some words are seperable, but it is mainly a chopping jump. There is a deep synth melody, and the male rap is replaced by a woman. Some echoed twangy synth lines and some boppy ones and an extended instrumental period ensues, the voices return before instrumental final section ended by some woodblockey tuned percussion. An exciting track.

Those two track totaled 18 minutes, making half the album. Thus the next four take the other half. In Larcenous big grooves support the ‘lyric’ line which begins sensibly then becomes chopped and turns into a melody line. The main melodies, though, are a pair of slow synths, one high the other lower, that create a stately semiclassical mood. There are contrasts in Air Bubble Material as ratchetting and a dense crackling rhythm are joined by slow tones which sound like string samples, insects leap about and a higher lyrical line runs through.

To Dine in Distance begins with some concrete — walking round, a camera motor — then shifts to some loungey jazz with trumpet and a romance/soap sampled conversation. After a minute or so they both go ‘choppy’, swirling and churning over a steady rhythm, then the trumpet goes solo, before an acoustic guitar and straight-trumpet take the final moments. The album ends with Life Struggles Constant where buzzy blurts shift from side to side then long organ tones join with clickety blip-hop, high flitters and chopped rap-voices, before it all gets loopy to the end.

This album works on rhythms and contrasts — voices in sense and fragments, hip-hop and classical sensibilities — to create a very entertaining mix.

This album works on rhythms and contrasts to create a very entertaining mix.


Stefan Koopmanschap, Electronic Music World, June 12, 2003

Before hearing this disc, I had heard of the name Headphone Science before. It was mentioned to me several times on discussion forums and mailinglists, and I had seen it before on the No Type Website. For some reason though, I had not heard any of his music before. Of this fact I am not proud. Truth be said, I’m a bit ashamed. Cause this is the music I love! The chilled idm-ish type of music. Lots of details, lots of laidback rhythms, and beautiful melodies. Unfortunately, this disc is not a full album. With its nearly 40 minutes of playing time spread out over 6 tracks, it’s a damn good EP though.

From the laidback melodies of its title track We Remain Faded to the cut up rap of Games I just can’t find anything that I don’t like. Of course, this is not the perfect music. There is no such thing. Music wouldn’t be fun anymore if there was something perfect. But this comes near that. This is one of these albums that I just can’t ignore, can’t shake off. It happened to me before, for instance with Boards of Canada and their In a Beautiful Place Out In The Country. Some things just linger.

My favorite track though is To Dine in Distance. Guitar, horns, starting laidback, with nice downtempo laidback rhythms kicking a bit later. Beautiful vocal samples used as well. It just gets to me the most. Beautiful.

All in all a great disc that I think more people should get. If you like hiphop-influenced laidback idm-ish stuff, this is definately a disc to get!

This is one of these albums that I just can’t ignore, can’t shake off.


Frans de Waard, Vital, no. 375, June 10, 2003

Dustin Craig is from Oakland, California and has worked as Elasticlego and Headphone Science, melting his interests in hip hop, dub, IDM and musique concrète together. This debut CD release is considered an EP but at 38 some minutes, I think it’s more then that. Many of the influences (which I just cited from the blurb) are not really that apperent, except hip hop. The opening title piece is an exception: this more in the directions of IDM, with jumpy beats and a piano theme. The other five tracks are clearly more hip hop inspired. The rhythm section, the dominating factor of each song, and cut up raps (I assume lifted from TV or radio?), make all the other influences very small in that respect. To Dine in Distance, again with a conversation taken from TV, and loungy trumpet, is a nice piece, but overall I wasn’t really blown away by it. Maybe it has to do with lacking interest in hip hop or anything like that. One can hear that Dustin Craig can make a nice piece of music, sampled together, but a bit more IDM and a bit less hip hop would be, at least for me, nice.


Boban Ristevski, Igloo, May 19, 2003

It’s definitely great when someone manages to create a successful, even groundbreaking mix of abstract instrumental hip-hop beats and contemporary electronic music. That’s how this mini-album from Dustin Craig aka Headphone Science feels, or to be more precise, it sounds like a perfect and flexible mix of idm, hip-hop and ambience.

An excellent combination of firm hip-hop beats are present at the front, ambient sounds are subtly tucked in the background, tiny experimental sounds float in the midst, and occasionally you get mixed vocal clips or jazz tones in between. That’s why this music sounds very fresh, clever and inventive.

No Type (Brief) Background:: No Type started to release CD’s in 2002 and in a very short time this label has become a favorite amongst open-minded people searching for new forms of contemporary music, be it experimental, noise, idm, improvised, and even post-rock. All of these styles are part of the 2xCD compilation, The Freest Of Radicals; the first (official) CD release for No Type.

… a perfect and flexible mix of idm, hip-hop and ambience.