Independent Clauses review “8:62”
“This electronic duo creates gently unfolding, melodic ambient/glitch music. They manage to make glitch not sound brittle and lifeless, especially on standout track “8:62.” Elsewhere they make circuitbending sound downright beautiful; this might be the easiest introduction to the technically and musically intimidating practice I’ve ever heard. It’s not ODESZA by any means, but fans of melodic post-dub will find connections they may not have expected.“
-Stephen Carradini, Independent Clauses
Check out the full article at Independent Clauses here.
Ruby Hornet Reviews the Chicago ‘Which is Worse’ release show
Daniel Wolff over at Ruby Hornet did a write up on our recent Chicago show, celebrating the release of ‘Which is Worse’
Problems That Fix Themselves closed out the night with one of their best performances I’ve seen to date. They played a number of songs off their new album, including chaotic, pop-electro track, “8:62,” and some older material including the guttural, machine-like “to help you stop smoking” off their 2010 release, Seconds. The set concluded with tribal-noise track “Slowburn,” which ended, as the title promises, in noisy incineration, Tabbia below the sound table smashing together two voicemail machines, Borozan above, carefully manipulating dissonant tone clusters and thumping bass lines. Audience members could be heard cheering and applauding, many taking videos and pictures, bringing a cathartic, celebratory end to the evening.
-Daniel Wolff, Ruby Hornet
Read the entire review at Ruby Hornet here.
Nooga.com reviews ‘Which is Worse’
Joshua Pickard over at Nooga.com named our new record, Which is Worse’, one of the four records you should hear this week!
“What can be gleaned from noise? Or to put it another way: What insights can be offered from a series of droning segues and arrhythmic textures? Well, the answer is that you would indeed be surprised at how inclusive these jarring sounds can actually be—just look at Chicago-based industrial noise duo Problems That Fix Themselves. Composed of Already Dead Records founder Joshua Tabbia and longtime musical collaborator Alex Borozan, this outfit wades through the hiss and static that so readily finds itself aligned with the genre, but they still manage to inject an emotional presence into their compositions that keeps them from ever falling into a preprogrammed circuital rut.
For their latest album, “Which Is Worse,” the duo looks toward something far more melodic and substantive. They’re still dealing in bent electronics and damaged noise, but the resulting rhythms are anything but jarring—at least for the most part. So while they occasionally dip back into the harsh sounds of their previous work, “Which Is Worse” finds them working through their digital and analog issues with a newfound sense of confidence and rhythmic viability. With a record as subjective as this, it’s only fair to say that each person will probably find something different to latch onto—whether it’s a damaged bit of melody or a series of interlocking drones. Tabbia and Borozan have created a noise record with a heart, and that thudding synthetic beat will have you inching closer and closer after each listen.”
-Joshua Pickard, Nooga.com
Check out the full article at Nooga.com here.
Tome to the Weather Machine review ‘Which is Worse’
For: Ou Ou, Matt Miller, Boards of Canada
Byline: Already Dead’s 150th release is a commendable step forward in composition and balancing beauty and harshness.
“Problems that Fix Themselves is Already Dead Tapes 150th release. That is significant. In just under four years, Already Dead has put out 150 pieces of physical media. That is close to 40 releases a year. Lately, I have felt a bit disorganized. Having so many irons in the fire make it difficult to focus on one thing for any significant amount of time. Already Dead’s insistance to go all-in on their own terms inspires me to be a better steward of my time and commit myself more completely to where I feel my reach will be the most felt. In the world of artists co-creating on AD there is a dedication that is just a rung under Juggalo family unity. Whenever I come across some AD-affiliated artist, he/she usually ends the conversation with, “I’ll see you at the family reunion! (an annual festival put on by AD)”, I involuntarily brace myself for the “whoop! whoop!” that never comes.
Here we are. AD150. A 12″ vinyl pressing of Already Dead founder Joshua Tabbia’s industrial-noise project that is more beautiful and soothing than the fore-mentioned genre tag would represent. Now officially expanded to a duo with longtime musical partner Alex Borozan, Problems that Fix Themselves have leapt ahead light years in compositional competency since their 2010 release Seconds. On that record Tabbia crafted a listenable balance between harsh noise and tones that had more emotional heft than I had heard in most noise records. Which is Worse lets these moments play out without scuttling them without contact mic harshness or audio sampling. Rather, these are compositions worked out well in advance and perfected with ample attention paid to timing and structure as well as the typical noiseniks continual fussing with tonal quality.
The result are songs that surge with programmed post-industrial beats that drill and seethe or glide and sink into placid, blissful tones of organ/synth lines that melt into an unhurried liminal space between structured beat-driven songs and unformed, unchained tones fluctuating and oscillating wildly. “Black Elvis” is the corollary to this, a building, daisy-chained composition that adds elements from the ground up, starting with a single drum pattern and unfolding into a fully-fleshed song-song with poignant crescendos and moments of additive brilliance. “Slowburn” is the only song that doesn’t corrall harsh tones and beats into a tightly structured arrangement. Instead, it is an abrasive, everything-on excercise in skin-flaying tones and improvisation. At the end of the album it is a cleansing, powerful addendum.
It is no surprise that my favorite track on the album is “Sunday Song” which features Victoria Blade’s beautiful voice wrapped under blankets of tape hiss. That song follows a simple, hymn-like melody of life-affirmations. “We are in this for the long haul/we are willing to give it all”. Those words struck me like a wrecking ball. When you can frame living a life of integrity – which comes to its base level of releasing tapes and art – into grand terms of a war against a stultifying and suffocating existence, it makes what may seem like chicken-shit to disappointed parents or cultural commentators, something worth fighting for, worth protecting with your life because you and a dedicated group of weirdos made it yourselves. And life is precious. And the way you live your life is the most important thing. All of that from a noise record.”
-Ryan Hall, Tome to the Weather Machine
Check out the full article on Tome to the Weather Machine here.
Review of ‘Which is Worse’ on DIT Kalamazoo
“Problems That Fix Themselves’ third proper album, Which Is Worse, will wrap the head of any listener in swaddling blankets. The majority of the seven pieces which comprise this latest offering from the Chicago duo (long-time contributor Alex Borozan is now officially the other half of founder Josh Tabbia’s electronic vision) display a marked emphasis on melody and structure, with only the closing track, “Slowburn,” containing the free-form assault on the senses with which Problems have pummeled audiences throughout the Midwest the past few years.
The sound bite sampling and mechanized beats that propelled the magnificent assortment of sounds on their last release, 2010′s Seconds, have all but vanished in favor of melodic passages which move as naturally as the river flows. Seconds was far from cold and clamorous, abundant in warmth and melody, but much of it was buried under shards of experimentation that appeared to be taking place while the tape was rolling. That is the key difference on Which Is Worse: the experimentation seems to have taken place largely in the composing process, with the textural sounds arranged into the colorful, radiating pieces, giving the album a more refined sound, while still exciting and bold nonetheless.
The titular cut acts as the opening credits, with a Baldwin Discoverer table top organ cycling through a series of sustained chords against a gentle wash of white noise thunderstorm. “Maximum Occupancy” crawls across the speakers through a wormhole into “Black Elvis,” which explodes in a majestic myriad of incandescent phosphorescence, in shades of Tangerine Dream and Harmonia. The production is stunningly crisp, with a cohesion unprecedented in Problems’ catalogue. The sole vocal performance on the album appears on “Sunday Song,” a tender tune which unites contributing member Victoria Blade’s saccharine, distorted vocals with a melodious synth line, bringing side one to a sweet-tempered close.
Side two opener “8:62” features the drill and bass drum patterns often employed by Aphex Twin and Squarepusher back in the day. A diced-up air organ supplies the main melody while cherubic flourishes distantly circle overhead. “Elsie Mary” paints a serene, understated landscape that is not unlike those explored by early pioneering electronic artists in Europe that Brian Eno sought out. The aforementioned “Slowburn” finishes off the album in an abrasive, terrifying menace of sonance that is absent from the six tracks which precede it.
Perhaps the only perceivable shortcoming of Which Is Worse is the brevity of the album, clocking in at around 35 minutes. Maybe Problems ascribe to the old vaudevillian adage, “Always leave them wanting more.” Regardless, with not a wasted note to be found, the album is comforting sonic bliss that benefits from repeated listens and can be done so ad infinitum at such a short running time. Chalk up another one for Problems That Fix Themselves.
Below is a link to their Bandcamp with the album available to stream and purchase.”
Check out the full article on DIT Kalamazoo here.