For ‘Poverty Recordings’ Travis Johnson walked barefoot through the suburbs of the internet to gather a colorful bunch of hobos together. Not everyone could fit in his bagpack, but the ones that did fit are all ones who have an infinite love affair with creating music. They can hit the streetstones, drum with sticks and play melodies on improvised carton instruments. This collection of artist below the poverty line is a great bunch of creative figures, hopelessly misunderstood in society, but yet highly praised in the streets and in underground land.
The first beggar who Travis Johnson had picked up is nobody less than the finish artist Jukka-Pekka Kervinen. He was so happy that Travis had chosen him to be the first one to come out of his backpack that he automatically started to perform a interesting work he himself named ‘cF-ReD’.
It was like a modern theatrical play with lots of softness, a moment of ‘eureka’, some tiny stones dropping on the floor and a moment of plastic popping to top it off. Travis Johnson couldn’t be more pleased!
Another strange character that Travis Johnson had found was Odra. He was legendary known on the streetcorner for his electronic wickedness. He performed with great joy in his heart an intelligent electronic complex flexible work called ‘Amplex’. Think sounds, all orchestrated, chopped up and placed to give it a full electrifying swing in sound. After the performance Travis Johnson went around holding up his hat and got many pieces of gold from a flabbergasted and supportive audience.
Two people that Travis Johnson had invited along on his tour among the poverty lanes were the friendly IIia Belorukov & Kurt Liedwart. Together they paid the price of performing their hit ‘Konijnen’. It is soundwise a very avant-garde piece where soft minimal drumming meets up with a high beep that can be the sound of a neighbor hoovering the house next door. It gets into a full blown extravaganza towards the end when ‘Konijnen’ start to ramble with the drums and a beep escapes to dominate the ears for a few seconds. This was a performance that took not only Travis Johnson’s breath away, but also got a full applause in the Yeah I Know It Sucks office employees.
It was a time that laughing and giggling and blowup dolls, whistles and fart balloons could finally be taken out of the drawers! Laughing gas was getting supplied by another personality called Carabiner.
Carabiner had the reputation of a mad hatter kind of type, and is of course a character not to be missed on this compilation collected by Travis Johnson. Carabiner brought a crazy moment of pure happiness by presenting ‘The Happy Project’ in full form. We could only act like clowns, fall over our own gigantic shoes and honk our horns of happiness.
In his search for poverty electronics Travis Johnson came across an artist eating from the trashcan. Travis Johnson took him out dinner in exchange for a track to make this compilation more grand than it already was. Steve Moyes was his name and ‘A Glimpse of the Luxury They Couldn’t Afford’ was the track he donated in exchange for that fine meal that made his night. The track was absolutely inspiring, going for strange experimental music that brings seemingly lofi kind of tones and delivers it back in a high fidelity form. A strange soft rumbling jazzy loose drum teams up with higher tones that accentuate the luxury that experimental music could be so rich off. A good trade if you’d ask me!
A well-known bum in the underground had also come to Travis Johnson’s attention. It was the character who listens to the name ‘mhzesent’. Travis Johnson couldn’t miss him as mhzesent had his ‘Yums On’ and it was quite a sight. Mhzesent was working the streets in the cold harsh sounds of a faxmachine that was in need of some fine drops of oil. Luckily Travis Johnson had given the poor lad a warm scarf and a big long wintercoat to cover up mhzesent’s talk-of-the-town Yums. Now the noisy wild life style was more comfortable and warm, even when sleeping next to a pile of dogshit didn’t feel like a huge deal no more. Travis Johnson and mhzesent became instant friends and danced themselves warm in the noisy night until the next summer.
Steve Flato who is so poor that he would never be able to afford a modular synth also made a good impression on Travis Johnson. He gave him a helping hand and a place with the other poor electronica music makers in his backpack, and he paid in true artistic freedom with a lengthy track of sweet soft warm noise. Something that you want to hold on too and crawl under as if it is a warm sheet made out of sheep-wool.
Another figure that Travis Johnson made friends with was the mysterious beggar named ‘Too Bad’. He was involved with pity crime, but for this occasion Too Bad had turned good and focused on delivering a strange and short but pretty moment of backwards music.
The poor hobo kicked out from his alien planet to live with the freaks down the drains of human scum was nobody less than Total E.T. He donated a performance called Cracked&Droned to the collection of Travis Johsnon poor people’s electronica club. In the track we can hear the alien shimmering and drooling down in the dirty alleyways, spitting the floor to clean it before laying down for a rest. We can also hear the creepy crawlers that are his tiny friends, and a very, very hungry stomach complaining of complete lack of shitty foods. It is an intensive track, something that fits Travis Johnson’s collection perfectly.
(x)ora Vs. Danger Games’s dkikt is another performance that could be found on the Poverty Electronics Volume 1. It sounds quite poor, and yet smells like that sparkle when you open up a fresh pack of caviar. It might be played on a broken electric guitar, or perhaps a cardboard one amplified with stolen electricity. It’s pretty hypnotic towards the end when the whole flow hits the head the right way.
Nothing poorer than a good drone, is probably what Travis Johnson thought when inviting a track by Jon Thoresen to this collection of hobo’s beggars, street walkers and an alien. The track called ‘drone7’ is extremely soft, so you might pump up your speakers if you could afford them that is.
But once you got the volume right, it is all bliss and warm buzzing. I feel like we are out on the streets, but in a safe corner sleeping the night away.
Almeria trails by cays is a track that gives a moment of pure mysterious good music. I can’t be comedic over here as this work totally overruled everything that my poor ears had witnessed in this compilation. This track creeps up on you very slowly and then before you know it; has the listener in a grip of hypnoses that is as sweet as sugar. I would drop some coins from my sock to add in cays hat! Respect!
The last one in the poverty show is Robby Kee and his track ‘Where is the awe?’ It’s a strange one that seems to focus on the voice of the artist that perhaps asks directions in a robotic way. Travis Johnson probably directed the artist to this compilation with warm tea and coffee.
This compilation of Poverty Electronics is a great collection of poor electronica music experimentalist collected by the traveling Travis Johnson. It is available for free or for the amount of coins that you would see fit. Enjoy this luxury over at the following link: