Sound Cipher is the surreal, pulsating audio vision shared by three of modern music’s most uncompromising sound sculptors. It’s the sort of thing that emerges when Tim Alexander (Primus, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle) finds himself inside a thunderous duo improvisation with Skerik (Critters Buggin, Garage A Trois, Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade) during a soundcheck for Primus’ Chocolate Factory tour in Oakland CA. One person surrounded by a circular percussion station of preposterous proportions, another hurling psychedelic saxophonic screams into the hellfire of analog and digital circuitry.
Accident leads to inspiration leads to intentionality leads to attack, and the first official Sound Cipher excursion was scheduled for January 2, 2017, at Studio Litho in Seattle WA with Randall Dunn at the production helm.
Timm Mason (aka Mood Organ, alumnus of Master Musicians Of Bukkake, collaborator alongside Wolves In The Throne Room, Eyvind Kang & Jessica Kenney, Jóhann Jóhannsson and many more) initially came aboard to assist with modular synth processing during this first session, generally a technical advisory role involving lab coats and clipboards and chin-scratching. But accidents will happen, of course. The participants arrived to find Mason setting up in the live room (instead of the control room as expected), and his direct in-the-moment sonic manipulation of the proceedings made it clear that he belonged at the creative core of the project, where he remains today.
Initial plans to release the 2017 session as Sound Cipher’s unveiling were revised when the trio found a new level of clarity in shaping their ideas. A further session took place in 2018 at Avast Studios, also in Seattle WA. Six years later, the finest flowers from these sessions are now available to adventurous listeners everywhere in the form of Sound Cipher’s debut LP, All That Syncs Must Diverge, to be, released April 21, 2023, via Royal Potato Family.
Listeners and innocent bystanders have reported spiritual resemblances to the experimental German scene of the 70s with traces of Can, Faust, Neu and early Kraftwerk, the dark manic rumble of Peter Gabriel’s early work and the complex digital hardcore first birthed by Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, all of it wrapped in an unsettling atmosphere that verily reeks of familiar ingredients: a tumbling machine-tight groove, a wash of analog synths direct from your midnight movie memories, a snippet from your grandpa’s old Louis Armstrong records stretched across miles of fizzling voltage and contorted into barely recognizable and altogether quite mind-altering new shapes.