Tag Archives: Giant Claw

A Guide to Constellation Tatsu’s Wide-Ranging Experimental Cassette Music

Constellation Tatsu

Album art by White Poppy (inset) & Prismatic Escalator (outside)

“Tatsu was the name of our cat. It was sort of a mascot, and it still is, as part of the logo,” says Steven Ramsey, who runs Oakland-based independent label Constellation Tatsu. The imprint has been in operation since 2012, releasing a wide range of experimental music on cassette tape and occasionally on vinyl, too.

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Biggest Ups: Over 40 Artists Share Their Favorite Albums of 2017

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Bandcamp artists pick their favorite albums of the year.

One of the features on Bandcamp Daily that generates the greatest amount of enthusiasm is Big Ups. The concept is simple: we ask artists who used Bandcamp to recommend their favorite Bandcamp discoveries. So, in honor of our Best of 2017 coverage, we decided to take Big Ups and super-size it. Here, more than 40 artists to tell us their favorite albums of the year.

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Giant Claw’s Cut-&-Splice Approach to Electronic Music Gets Personal

Giant Claw

Photo by Tom Murphy.

In the music he makes as Giant Claw, Keith Rankin distills the erratic world of 21st century internet culture into a string of increasingly strange albums issued by Orange Milk, the Ohio-based label he co-runs with fellow musician, Seth Graham. Using melodic keyboard lines, plunderphonic sampling, and incessant jump cuts, Giant Claw sketches out a jagged topography of the digital landscape. Over the last seven years, his music has incorporated everything from vintage movie synth scores to footwork and chiptune. “To me, pop music represents a sort of base reality in our culture,” Rankin explains from his home in Columbus, Ohio. “When a form of music is prevalent, it shapes how we look at reality—at least, it did for me. When I was young, I really loved pop music, and everything else I experienced musically was in contrast to that.”

After an initial string of decidedly less-bizarre albums, Giant Claw veered into stranger territory on his last two outings. 2014’s Dark Web turned split-second online trope samples into snappy juke rhythms, and 2015’s Deep Thoughts used video game sounds to create odd MIDI symphonies. His latest effort, Soft Channel, is both far more unsettling and decidedly more intimate. While he’s still dissecting a mass of samples and digital instruments, the source material is much more personal. Or to put it in Giant Claw’s own internet-informed parlance: If Dark Web was a Reddit page curated by a long list of users, Soft Channel is a Tumblr page.

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