Brooklyn-based folktronica quartert Howard released their debut album, Religion, in January 2015. Composed of Howard Feibusch (guitar, vocals), Myles Heffernan (bass), Chris Holdridge (drums), and Alex Chakour (guitar, synth, backup vocals), they’ve garnered millions of streams on Spotify and Soundcloud for their debut, and now return with it’s sequel, “Please Recycle,” a concept EP showing a new, more experimental side of the band, built upon limitations within material off Religion.
With no additional tracking, stems and sounds from Religion were split apart, manipulated, and reconfigured into new tracks pushing the boundaries of the way their pre-recorded material is composed and initially heard. While the concept originally started as an experiment, the prototypes have taken shape, morphing into composed pieces of electronic music akin to earlier work of Four Tet and Autechre.
“After the album had come out, I found myself listening to the stems from the album more than the actual songs,” says Feibusch, the group’s primary songwriter. “While they were part of something familiar, I began to hear them in a different way. Stripping the songs down encouraged me to rebuild them.”
Take, for instance, the song “Glass.” Ascending from the swelling guitars from the end of “Fool,” off their debut, “Glass” takes guitar samples from “The Waiting Room,” pitched up vocal samples from the LP’s opener, “Falling” leading the listener into a world of glitch and samples from the remainder of the debut LP. Things begin to decompose in “Paper” and “Metal” before fully unravelling in “Waste.”
While sound is the primary vehicle for “Please Recycle,” it is more than just a musical concept. It is a critique on the ability of modern technology to re-purpose and re-use the abundance of existing material, leaving the listener to ponder the reason for ever producing more.