Charles Peirce, aka End, favours surf, exotica and country LPs as source material.
The End of IDM
Bullets can't stop laptop ace Charles Peirce
|END performing as part of Alteredbeats with Saskrotch , Adjust , Blaerg and Mourningside Excursion , at Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst), Friday (February 25). $10. http://alteredbeats.com
Of the many laptop artists lumped into the
misleadingly named intelligent dance music (IDM) category, New York's
Charles Peirce is one of the few really deserving of his own subgenre.
Though the AlteredBeats flyer's attempt to classify the deviously
twisted soundscapes he synthesizes under his End alias as "rockabilly
breakcore white-trash jazz" does suggest the complexity of the sonic
collisions at work, the cumbersome handle doesn't quite hit it.
What separates Peirce from the rest of the IDM crowd is that he
doesn't have your typical reformed house DJ or ex-punk rocker
background, so he isn't interested in electronically fucking with
popular club joints or making Dirty South-style crunk music for nerdy
Instead, his kitchen-sink aesthetic is more typical of a
deep-digging record collector – not the sort bent on acquiring odd
variations of Beatles picture sleeve singles, but the kind who will
grab a self-released 7-inch by trucker country cult star Dick Curless
to cop the bizarre apocalyptic rant. Whatever's clever.
On Peirce's most recent End album, The Sounds Of Disaster (Ipecac),
you're more likely to hear elements of twisted 50s exotica and sinister
60s crime jazz with some twangy surf guitar bits thrown in for good
measure than anything trendy happening in the clubs at the moment.
That's what you get when a confirmed vinyl junkie is allowed to make
"Because most of the people making music in this broadly defined
genre I'm in [IDM] are coming out of club culture," explains Peirce
from his NYC pad, "they're still reacting to that and still think in
terms of conventional breakbeats, rave stabs and big keyboard parts.
"They like to mash up the latest pop song – take something sweet and
make it sour – but I can't be bothered listening to the radio. I'm in
my own little world.
"I love all that weird 50s and 60s exotica and surf rock, too.
That's mostly what I collect, so naturally it shows up in the music I
make. Lately I've been getting more into traditional country music from
the 70s. There's so many crazy beats on some of those records, but most
producers would never even consider checking them out. I'm not
complaining – that's great for me."
Listening to the dark and demented rumble of The Sounds Of Disaster
– which at times recalls the blurting brilliance of Jim Thirlwell's
Steroid Maximus grind – it's no secret that Peirce based the album on
the themes of death and destruction. The intriguing twist is that
Peirce says the album is largely autobiographical.
"Yeah, I've been shot at," Peirce says, like it happens every day.
"It was about 2 am and I'd just gotten off the bus a few blocks from
where I live and saw this guy strapped with guns and a samurai sword
dragging someone he'd shot toward the corner where I was standing with
some other people. He opened fire and we all scattered.
"And then there was that home invasion that happened while I was
staying at a friend's place. So I've seen my share of terribly violent
"But everyone experiences horrible things. It can derail your life
if you let it, but you can also think, 'Hey, I'm still alive – it's not
so bad,' and try to turn the negative into something positive.
"That's what I tried to do."
NOW | FEB 24 - MAR 2, 2005 | VOL. 24 NO. 26