Toronto-based producer & sound artist Ben McCarthy is easily one of the most underrated producers in the city. McCarthy has created music eponymously and under the Pale Eyes moniker since the turn of the last decade. His expansive body of work, which ranges from pop-length tracks informed by contemporary experimental music, intensive sound design compositions for theatre performances, scores for VR projects and a plethora of other music with in/out-sider influences from a wide range of sources, certifies McCarthy as a standout talent in one of the most densely-populated cities in Canada.
The excellent Sensual Choices from last year, a ‘mutual remix compilation’ with fellow Torontonian knobster/prankster Tax Haven, is a particularly great example of McCarthy’s versatility & creativity with audio production techniques. all vx / are we having fun yet is McCarthy’s latest release under his own name, a two-sided single that, according to the artist, is composed of “rescued phone recordings, the hastily-documented song-ideas and the soundbites appropriated from social media.” Both tracks have a correspondingly vibrant sound palette that bear semblances of trip-hop, downtempo electronica and even folk music, all while maintaining a decidedly pop flow throughout.
“all vx” opens with a divine, pitched vocal loop, accompanied by a thorough 808 kick that quickly transforms into a full beat with an appropriately colourful lead keyboard melody that easily gets lodged in your memory. The accompanying video for ‘all vx’ is a hallucinatory, circuit-bent visual sampling of Fritz Lang’s classic 1927 film Metropolis by artist Gordon Way, perfectly complementing the track’s retro-futurist aesthetic. “are we having fun yet” opens with a wonky, downtempo motif; a pitch-shifted vocal loop provides the introductory hook before the sounds begin to completely shift as McCarthy adds, subtracts and morphs the constituent elements of the track into different forms with each consecutive measure.
Despite being billed as discarded recordings, all vx / are we having fun yet is another instance of Ben performing at the top of his game that serves as a great introduction to his work for the uninitiated.
by Adam Piotrowicz.
all vx // are we having fun yet is now available to purchase here.