It's safe to say that with Anxiety Always, Detroit's Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus are now a more fully realized Adult. It's their first full-length collection of original productions, coming after 2001's Resuscitation, made up of previously released, reprocessed singles. And with this cohesive set, Miller and Kuperus have infused their stiff analog arrangements with more distinct and direct elements drawn from late-'70s post-punk. The result is a tense, terse, taunting sound that helps distance Adult. from the far-from-truly-applicable "electro" tag (formerly an early-'80s, inner-city-derived, beat-focused movement; now the bric-a-brac category of all electronic music post-2000).
"If our two choices to pick between are a white European tradition and music spawned from the Bronx, we're in the first," says Kuperus.
"But," adds Miller, "we've been called dance-punk. We're DIY; we use fuzz bass, faster tempos. We're a little more aggressive, and we're punk in ideology. We're independent of the major-label system. But I like 'dance-punk' because the 'dance' is first. A true hardcore punk would call our music wussy, which is fine."
With Anxiety Always, Adult. draws a finer art-derived "dance-punk" line from Kraftwerk to Cabaret Voltaire to Wire -- pocked with Giorgio Moroder, Joy Division and Fad Gadget. But that doesn't mean there isn't a "what to make of this shit" aspect to their music. Named in opposition to the loved-up glowstick-and-pacifier hordes that, at the time, represented the electronic music "underground," Adult. began five years ago as a refinement of the couple's Plasma Co. project. Back then the music was more childish -- in that it was more reactionary.
"Most of the art in Detroit in the early '90s was so much 'dirty brown art,' where people take rusty metal and shellac a photograph of a dilapidated house on it," recalls Miller, a studied painter. "All my work -- later extended into music -- started taking on clean, hard-edged aspects."
As the name of Miller and Kuperus' label illustrates, Adult. initially provided "Ersatz Audio" -- a substitute, an alternative. Since then, Miller and Kuperus have applied the raw pulse of fuzz bass and spastic singsong non sequiturs to the brittle clap, clatter, pop and stutter/shudder of hyperventilating snares and caffeinated beats -- the beats and bleak black humor coming in complementary rapid-fire rivets. Seemingly one big leap, Anxiety Always is more the culmination of a series of hops. Over two years and 20-something remixes and collaborations, Adult. has perfected a sound that is both paranoid and panoramic, but devoid of resolution. It's a contrasting concept that crystallizes on their album covers, featuring the open-ended photographs of Kuperus.
"Every photograph I take, theoretically there could be two stories -- and the viewer decides what's happening," he says. "You're given a little info and you can't decide what's outside the edges of the story -- and usually it could be a good or bad action. You have to finish the story, decide the outcome and how you feel about it."
Making your own decisions and living with the consequences is a very adult concept. And if maturing is being secure in who you are and what you do, Miller and Kuperus have matured in more ways than one. "Adult." ends in a period because, both artists agree, "what you see is what you get."
With Anxiety Always, Miller and Kuperus have provided us with a lot to look at.
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?