From the new issue of Signal-to-Noise:
A sense of willful mystery lies at the heart of Khate Gausmann's recorded ouvere. How she acquires sound sources isn't quite a known; it more like a known unknown, if you'll allow me to was slightly Rumsfeldian for a moment. What's known is that this Virginia-based circuit-bender extracts sonics by tinkering with sound-making or -altering devices like guitar pedals, keyboards, and children's toys. Then she tests and experiments with the results like a scientist in a laboratory, eventually shaping them into finished tracks threaded with unrecognizable pop music samples, field recordings, Conet Project tapes, and what have you into a sort of subterranian phantom ooze. What's unknown is exactly what combination of bastardized elements is at work in any given song. That's probably frustrating for the engineers and biologists in Khate's audience, for it's a blessing for those of us who prefer to experience her strain of electronic music through the viewfinders of our own individual illusions.
13 follows the gently coursing path set by predecessor Field Reports - see the waxing, waning limbo of "Grey," the soft downy bubble'and'scrape of "Kitty Hospital", or how "DX" weaves wind-chime tinkle into tearing rotation rupture - but comes through with a few pleasantly abrasive moments. Namely: "Boxing Day," where an ever-increasing series of crackling shock treatment lay waste to a crumbling vocal sample. Phi, by contrast, is subdermal almost to the point of invisibility; its first trio of bite-size compositions fugue by on an undertow of surging, static-y foam, gray pulses throbbing weekly yet insistently - until "Trichotomic" arrives, unleashing sticky, darting stutter-steps and appropriated, anonymous bro-harmonies that resurface as soon as "Quinate [For Bela]" begins. That song quickly takes an Aphex Twin turn, with the pronounced pluckings and bups of what appear to be downtuned guitar strings trudging through ringing digital pings. Endcap "Eight Volt House" burrows a wheedling tunnel of smudged vocal, rippling wavelength tone, and flickering distortion straight down to purgatory.
Released in early January as a free download from Just Not Music Records - it's also available on archive.org - Detritivore is, perhaps ironically, the most engaging of Khate's recent creations. There's a tangible sense of daring and unrest that makes for a listening experience that's more active and involving than her last few quietly turbulent recordings. "Basic" opens with two disparate loops that sound great together - an insistent, boomeranging throb that resembles an irritable synth and robotic Conet Project intoning - then morphs into something even more complex, with effects that seem to slash into, naw at, and pummel the helicoptering mix. There's queasy "Diesel," where rapsy generator pulses simulate a benign form of seasickness; "Isabel" pits blustery, locomotive chugga-chugga against the goosebump-raising squeak of operating, unoiled gears and the clatter of raining debris.