"An engaging collection of homespun assemblages inspired (as the copious, literate and laidback sleevenotes make clear) by an awareness of the constant procession of environmental sound and by an impulse to free sound from the dead, airless clutches of the computer processor. Setting himself up in deliberate opposition to the legions of electronica drones who hide a lack of inspiration behind the rigorous persuit of sonic sterile perfection, Mueller has focussed instead on the texture of everyday life." – The Wire
Decomposure is Caleb Mueller, a 29-year old jack-of-all-arts up in Kitchener, Ontario; or as he puts it, a “Graphic designer by day, asleep by night. Somewhere between them, music happens.” But in April 2010, the wiggle room between those two spaces suddenly shrunk, as Caleb and his wife Nicole became proud parents of a brand new baby girl. “You’re handed this tiny helpless bundle that is totally dependent on you, you literally hold its life in your hands; of course it changes you. But it actually took me awhile to truly ‘get’ it. There was no bolt-of-lightning moment where a switch flipped and I instantly matured into a fully-formed father – I needed time to process it all, and music was how I began to work it out.”
Let’s back up a bit: Caleb created Decomposure back in 2002 as a project to pursue a hyper-specific strain of elaborate experimental-polyrhythmic-glitchtronica sourced from diced up field recordings and found sound. With each passing album, he added more and more to the mix… until one day, it collapsed under its own weight. “I finally had to stop. The process had become a paralyzing slog – I was literally spending a solid month working out each minute. And when a software glitch wiped out nearly a year of work, that was the final nail in the coffin. But out of that frustration I came to realize all my theoretical clutter was premised on unlimited time. I’d set up all these challenges – sound sources, repetition, time signatures – but I’d never thought to limit my time.”
NEW MP3: Decomposure - "Black Snow"
With the newfound demands of fatherhood already whittling his hours down, it was the perfect opportunity to make the leap. The solution was a simple idea: write/produce/record one full song every week, release it as a podcast on the weekend. Rinse, repeat. And so Caleb sunk every spare waking moment he could into the music, hermiting away at night to write, stealing time from lunch to hammer out a beat, layering caffeine-fueled harmonies at 3am, marathoning through weekend evenings to tie it all together. And that old abandoned album? It got a second lease on life, as salvaged bits and sketches were revived and reworked into full-fledged songs, unexpectedly integrating a sweeping 5-year arc into the project. A year later, he was sitting on dozens of brand new songs, which were polished, filtered, and winnowed into their final definitive form as Eating Chicken, Decomposure’s fifth full-length album.
You might expect Eating Chicken to be a mess of eclectic styles and ideas mashed together. Aaaand you’d be mostly right – for Decomposure, genre has always been a tool, not the toolbox, and so songs swing from sunny pop to mutant dancehall to skittering minimalism to searing noise and back again, all wrapped in his signature kitchen-sink life sampling. But beyond those superficial differences, those who stick around will find a deeper underlying unity that rewards repeat listens. It’s an album that tracks the journey from perpetual-teenageness to parenthood, examining denial and truth, art and compromise, ends and beginnings, and finally, growing up.
“Features the graphic-artist-by-day’s slightly sugary blend of electronic-pop that channels a little bit of The Postal Service, but in no way mimics them, or anyone we’ve heard recently. Decomposure is definitely a delight, and no doubt will be making its-slash-his mark on the scene soon.” – Urb Magazine, Next 1000
When a Beatles-esque, melodic stanza gives way to an Anticon-inspired set of ludicrous speed spoken-word, which then gives way to a literal chorus of Muellers in a hypermelodic feat of multitracked a cappella, you expect it to crash and burn under its own weight…and yet it doesn’t crash and burn. Rather, it soars, pummeling the listener with cool idea after cool idea, fitting them together with taut threads that never seem to snap…It’s an album that represents unchecked ambition, one man striving to live up to his influences and the organized noise in his head. It’s the type of music that constantly makes you smile as you hear what the artist was trying for alongside what he accomplished. – PopMatters
Mueller’s voice is a pure and pliant instrument that’s effective whether presented as a naked swoon or layered into celestial harmonies. – Textura