by Dow One
Jan 16, 2015

Lets take a look at the work of Aaron Dowdy, theorist and composer working under the guise of Arx. Dowdy is a founder of The Actual School: an experiment in institutional architecture whose musical constituent, Asystems, ideomechanically rumbles along the meridians of its larger critical network. Arx sees Dowdy’s identity hitherto overgrow the constraints of the music-industrial Band Name in favor of a meta-field of asystemic discourse (no coincidence there). This is a long time coming; take a moment to surf Chorus House: a three-year rumination over the process and practice of recording, a Recordindustry’s day-to-day - getting up and breathing the morning fog and brushing away last night’s cocaine rush. Time makes an album of albums, fills the bandcamp page as it turns the momentous project into it’s own soft gray pixel. “Getting it just fucking right,” time after time after time. A monk is assigned a stupid task and fills it with the beauty of a still pond in the night. The nexus of these labors in Song Construction is an over-tonic positing of melody as a model of univocity; as simple as the piling of brick and mortar may be, it is such level, step-wise construction that builds the Arcology. The works play like transnational bangers, using session musicians, overdubs, anonymous vocalists and saxophone soloists - a traditionalism disenchanted with the artifice of analogue production. The subtly concréte methodology implicates the expanded history of electronic pop production, traversing the field between tape experimentalism of the mid-century and the pragmatic swiftness of autotuned global pop YouTube sensations. The material is tessellation upon tessellation of a fetishized music, at once summarized, accelerated, replaced.

Since the curtailing of Chorus House, Aaron has conducted numerous experiments in identity, of which Dow One is the most formal. The Dow approach to production is an inherently radical one, shattering the subjectness of the melodist/philologist to create hyperized, plastic song-forms that warp, yet maintain the attributes of peg-in-hole genre signatures (i.e. chip-tune, New Age). A tumbling, combinatory roll-out narrative in/of observational processes — the head and ears saturated in an incompressible sea, feeling out an impossibly fine vein of impossible explosion, out to a utopian shore of timelessness and calm. This is sound design with purely anaesthetic consequence. Dow One is the voice of an intensive, self-imposed curriculum in recent post-Marxist theory (he read everything). Just as a melody finds stasis in the ephemerality of performance, so do the discursive currents behind this music become more articuate through continued application, continued listening. YOUTH WAGE SURPLUS is the professed head upon this body of work, whose antecedent parts are:


Dowdy is also involved in the duo called Aldi (Arx and Xander Seren, asystems), and led the performance group Echo Rush. As a part of the ravenously energetic Asystems crew in NYC — recently featured as guests on NTS Radio — he is constantly producing, mixing, or writing something. Keep up with him on Asystems, or his expansive yet consise Rate Your Music profile.