“From 2000 I used Modplug Tracker (now OpenMPT) to sequence and as my sole DAW… You can see the numbered patterns, all the note information, and all the number based commands but there's really no way to have a macro view of what you're doing and no visualization”. - M. Castaneda / Terminal 11
Terminal 11 is Michael Castaneda (Phoenix, AZ, USA). Over 20 years his output through labels like Cock Rock Disco, Phthalo and Hymen tattooed his place along the strange arm of North American producers whose vision for rhythmic complexity, timbral nuance and machine controlled chaos saw the genre of breakcore develop and modify.
‘Eyes Pressed Against The Glass’ is Terminal 11’s new statement of intent. One in which the process of production has changed up for the first time in many years. Dropping habits, breaking cycles and learning new approaches to processing audio, artistic intent and emotion.
“For someone who tends to fixate and hyperfocus on microscopic details to a fault, this was a perfect environment for a large portion of my life. Around 2019 I started to feel like it was starting to suffocate me. Over a span of years, life transformations outside of music allowed for the gradual dismantling of rigid rules, toxic emotions, unhealthy work habits, and dissociation. These four things were what fueled most of my artistic output. I was left in a gray area where I understood where I had been and where I was, but not where I was going or what I wanted to do”. - M. Castaneda / Terminal 11
Noticeably the shift from tracker to modular synth, hardware sequencers / samplers and composition with Ableton Live has brought a new fluidity to Terminal 11’s sound. Opening track ‘Until It Couldn’t Recognize A Face’ expands and contracts lung like as it sucks hot-stepping drum patterns out of a background of amorphous gas like harmonics. Each bar revealing new aspects of a cavernous space. It’s acidic introduction eventually self-dissolving into an envelope severed counterpoint. ‘Full Circle’s 3D acid lines draw forth prepared piano interiors, tuned metal and imploding histrionics before a blanket pull to massage room ambience. Intelligent the music may be but I dare you to dance to it.
“The image of an eye pressed against a glass is one that reflects the feeling of spending most of your life with a magnifying glass jammed against your cornea. The irony of the whole situation is that after freeing myself from the micro view fixations I just learned how to reapply them in the macro environment. You can change but you still live with the echoes of who you've been”. - M. Castaneda / Terminal 11
B-side opener ‘Breathing Room’ is perhaps the track most closely aligned to the earlier Terminal 11 output. A more colourful, ebullient track adorned with flickering micro-samples and all shades of counting machine flair. ‘Spirals’ is a masterpiece of wet mouthed sampling. A dystopic soundscape or rasping, glottal ugliness strapped down tight to a undulant bass of gross weight. ‘Tea’ closes the record as the least claustrophobic of all six of the pieces here. A tonic and digestive agent comprising lithe and light cymbal play atop elegant tectonics. Breakcore it is not. Terminal 11’s music has developed into a complex futurism negating the boorish, OTT behaviour of previous incarnations and maturing to a music of natural energy, thermic, kinetic and sonic.