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(MP3) from Album "Building the Bass Castle Vol. 1"
(MP3) from Album "Building the Bass Castle Vol. 1"

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Todd Bailey
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Solid PR
Celeste Tabora
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Advanced Alternative Media
Sara Dempsey
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Ornamented and troubled, competent and moody, VOLTAGE balances on a sea of divergent priorities. At once caught between the chaotic pull of the noise community and the human urge to rock the party, VOLTAGE has trouble being identified as a rock band, but nonetheless craves the structure and ability to create concrete and beautiful works that are not lost in showmanship and flash.

More influenced by Bach and Timbaland, but often compared to Hella and Don Caballero, and more likely to buy records by Tyondai Braxton or Terry Riley, VOLTAGE believes that a healthy dip in pretense is better than a G n' R cover, at least 90% of the time. Believing that the-emperor-must-always-have-his-clothes-on, VOLTAGE concerns themselves deeply with pushing and retooling the structure of their songs and their very instruments themselves on a regular basis.

Two-piece and instrumental, VOLTAGE hails from Chicago. Erik Schwartz and Todd Bailey are the longest-lived residents of the dirtball underground performance space that was Camp Gay, and have spent their time immersed in outsider music for the last four years. Bailey has worked at the Empty Bottle as a soundman, and has seen the world touring as a hired ear with Califone, Brokeback, and Elefant. He has rebuilt mixing consoles at Tortoise member John McEntire's studio (Soma) and been commissioned to build public electronic toys for the Chicago Children's Hospital. All of these efforts have come as spin-offs of Bailey's most heartfelt work - the design and creation of new electronics that can change the nature of composition and performance.

Live, Bailey plays a vacuum-tube based synthesizer of his own design which is controlled by a modified guitar, and occasionally appears with a touch and breath sensitive analog synth, an interactive jewelry-controlled sequencer (inspired by the works of G-Unit, et al.) or a Commodore 64 computer. On the other end, you will find Schwartz playing a drum kit of his own concoction, consisting of a Frankenstein assortment of marching and rock drums, a glockenspiel, battery operated motors, microphones, and more recently, a laptop configured for live sampling. Schwartz spends much of his time off the court developing his own line of basketball sneakers, the E-1s.

Problematically referred to as a noise band for rockers or a Hella for the ladies, VOLTAGE has it in to prove that innovation, on a good day, can be accessible or even exciting. That thoughtful (though not necessarily somber) composition is the key to working otherwise disparate elements of music into a cohesive whole. VOLTAGE strives to be dynamic, musical, weird, and buried. VOLTAGE loves and values emotion, technical competence, and feel.

In the past VOLTAGE have toured or played with (and like) Parts and Labor, Tyondai Braxton, Death from Above, Pit-Er-Pat, Metalux, Make Believe, OOIOO, Tracy and the Plastics, & the Quails. An upcoming fall tour will be Voltage's third - and their first with Chicago label Flameshovel.
CMJ Music Monthly "While Voltage's technocratic wizardry puts them at the head of the class, their spazz-jazz is sure to win the hearts of high school AV club dorks and Don Caballero freaks alike."

Kill The Noise "A immediate suggestion of Voltage's musical inclinations comes to mind: either arty indie or arty post-rock, the key word being Arty."

Splendid "Erik Schwartz and Todd Bailey, the men behind Voltage's arsenal of homemade electronic gadgets, have functioned on the fringes of outsider music for the past five years, and their pedigree in weird can't help but inform Building the Bass Castle's labyrinthine post-rock concoctions."

Chord "The album is an instrumental in the best way - it is completely open to the listener's interpretation."

EM P Me "Find this album. Listen to this album. Devote some solid listens to it. ...[I]f you give it the time it deserves and you enjoy it you have found a record you will be listening to 10 years from now."

FunTime Ok "Hailing out of Chicago, Voltage may be the next great experimental band." "They both use heavily modified equipment to make music that sounds kind of like a cross between Tortoise and Lightning Bolt, while retaining their own innovative edge."

The New Scheme #13 "This is a really thoughtfully constructed and intricate record which is just familiar enough and just abstract enough to seem fascinating during the first listen, as well as months later."

Philadelphia Weekly "They come armed with equipment both modified and homemade, emerging with untitled jigsaw compositions that breathe and breed in a way so few wordless outfits do." - Doug Wallen

Right Click on Image and Select "Save Link..." to download 300dpi photos
First four images by Emma Rodewald & MUST be credited upon use
Copyright 2005 Flameshovel Records

Buliding the Bass Castle Vol. 1 CD
Released 10.18.05
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Copyright © 2004, Flameshovel Records