[a]pendics.shuffle is but one name for the multiple personas of Kenneth James Gibson. Having catalogued over 200 releases, KJG has explored and released music from minimalist and raw house to futurist dub, spaced-out electro to ambient solitudes, experimentalist techno to noisy psychedelic and chamber pop. He is also the founder of Los Angeles-based house and techno label Adjunct Records (distributed by Kompakt).
His new album, Aware Sequence Found Life was released this month and UK editor Simon Huxtable went to find out more about the elusive [a]pendics.shuffle.
Hi Kenneth, great to meet you. Thanks for finding the time to chat with us at Decoded Magazine. How’s your day been so far?
You’re welcome. Fantastic day – thanks!
You’ve racked up a lot of releases over your 20 years in various guises as a recording artist (some 200 at the last count). But as [a]pendics.shuffle this is only your second artist album. Can you talk us through the decision to make this album? Certainly, for tradition bands, the second album is the hardest…
There’s no real reason I didn’t do another album sooner as [a]pendics.shuffle. I was just more into doing EPs for some reason. I was, however, releasing albums with my band Bell Gardens and also did an album as Reverse Commuter recently. When I moved from LA to Idyllwild I was super inspired and finished both my ambient album “The Evening Falls” which came out on Kompakt this last April and this new [a]pendics.shuffle album.
Can you talk us through the tracks? Which are your favourites?
I like all of them at different times for different reasons. It’s always hard to pick a favourite. If you listen to the whole album from beginning to end you’ll hear that there’s a harmonious thread tying it together and a feeling that speaks throughout the record.
Ahhh, so you had a journey in mind…
I definitely had a journey in mind for sure. There’s a storyline there but it’s up to the listener to read it if they want to. It almost kind of works as a concept record really. Nowadays it seems like most people just pick and choose certain tracks – which is fine as I also do that, but I still like the idea of listening to an album from beginning to end and really going on that journey when there is one to go on.
Having spent a number of years in LA, we imagine your route into music was suitably Hollywood-esque! Can you tell us about those formative years and some of the artists around you that inspired your life in music?
I was actually born in Canada but lived most of my younger life in Texas… moving to LA full-time in 1997. My route into music was very NOT Hollywood. I have always been inspired by every kind of music out there possible. As far as electronic music and producers that have inspired me in the formative years in that realm I’d have to say folks such as The Orb, acid stuff like Phuture, Aphex Twin, Throbbing Gristle, Meat Beat Manifesto, 808 State…
Stuff like that as well as dub from pioneers such as King Tubby and Mad Professor. There’s some sort of dub influence in everything I do. At that same time, I was also listening to stuff like My Bloody Valentine, Brian Eno, The Beach Boys, White Noise and lots of stuff from the 60’s etc. I’m all over the map all the time so I’m sure it all effects all the music I make. There’s so much good music in the world… most of it is older stuff for me though.
Tell us about working with guys like Mr C, Mark Bell, and 90s legends Meat Beat Manifesto. How did the opportunities present themselves and were you happy with the final results?
Chris Milo (AKA Three) introduced me to Mark Bell not to long after Mark moved to LA. We just got along real well and it made sense to make music together. He’s a legendary bad ass and we always have fun in the studio. We were just talking on the phone yesterday actually and we’re gonna start on some new tunes soon… but we say that every few months!
Sycophant Slags (who Mr C is half of with Francis Harri) did a remix of Reverse Commuter and around that time he had said some nice things about my music in the press. We first met In Miami at WMC. When he moved to LA we hooked up pretty quick and did “Something Strange”. It was a trip working with him at first because I danced my ass off many times to “Move Any Mountain” in my high school years in Texas and had a girlfriend who was obsessed with The Shamen. Good times. It’s always a blast working together.
As for Meat Beat Manifesto, I did an unofficial MBM remix and Jack Dangers heard it and asked me to do a proper remix for the Storm The Studio remix album. From there we decided to collaborate on some tunes which became the Hiss & Buzz EP.
We started a 2nd EP not long after but we both got too busy so bits of 2 tracks we worked on made it on the Meat Beat album on Planet-Mu a few years back. We started something new not too long ago but it hasn’t been finished.. one day! I’ve been real lucky to work with some really great collaborators over the years and have a lot of fun doing it.
Do you think, as artists, we put too much pressure on ourselves to leave a legacy we are proud of?
Interesting question. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, I’m not sure I care about a legacy after I’m dead. I think at one point in my life I did, but it was coming from ego. I just make music because that’s what I love to do. If I can leave some music on the planet that makes people happy and brings some joy in some way then I have done my job.
You have a dizzying array of production names. How do you decide which track fits which moniker?
It’s always fun coming up with new aliases! But I can’t say it’s done my “career” any good or at least that’s what they tell me – ha! In the old days, it was because you didn’t want to flood the market with too much music from one guy so an alias was created to release more music for different labels.
I have actually really slimmed it down to just a few key monikers in the last few years as my output is way lower than it used to be. These days, for the most part, each alias kinda has its own brand. Reverse Commuter & [a]pendics.shuffle are pretty similar now though.
Reverse Commuter was started in the late 90’s and had a small rest then brought back to life for Three’s Hallucination Limited now Hallucienda label. Over time [a]pendics.shuffle and Rev Com became pretty close sound wise, although the next batch will be much different than [a]pendics… whenever that comes to life.
Can you tell us about the work you do for film and TV? How does writing soundtracks differ from the dance orientated music you write.
I started doing music for TV and Film in the late 90’s for about a year then picked it back up part time in the mid-2000’s doing mostly stuff for music houses that were focused on commercials and some library work. In late 2012 I was feeling a bit burnt out from touring and making the majority of my living that way, so I started spending more time in the studio doing stuff for TV & film so I could pick and choose gigs.
I do most of my work these days for a company called Alibi… they have been great folks to work with. The music I do for “work” varies from rock and pop to orchestral music to hip hop to house and techno… so it’s all over the map. It definitely keeps me on my toes. It’s all just music to me though really. There’s never getting bored with one style since I have to change it up so much.
LA has a vibrant and ever-evolving nightlife, but sometimes, we just want to relax and take a moment for ourselves. Where do you suggest we should go once the parties done and we could use a little down time?
There are so many amazing places in and around LA. I used to hike at Deb’s Park almost daily for a while. Griffith Park is great. Angeles National Forest has some great spots. There are a couple of somewhat hidden beaches in Malibu that I love. Joshua Tree is, of course, always awesome. Where I live now in Idyllwild is where I used to come visit all the time to get away, so much that I decided to move here. There’s so many though!
Adjunct Audio has been a quiet staple of underground for about 10 years. It’s one of those labels only the really dedicated crate diggers know of, meaning the quality is always high. But with the world of music retail so changed, do you find today’s market much harder to compete in?
It’s always been tough to compete being we are a small label who has never bought into trends and doesn’t have a ton of money invested in it. I don’t really think of it as a competition though, we just do our thing and it’s always been like that.
We release great music by great artists for open minded people who dig our style. Not many underground artists or labels really make much money off music sales anymore… so it’s a bit tough, but it’s just the way it is nowadays. The main money in music is through licensing or gigs.
We have been in the game about 11 years now. We were supposed to do a 10-year compilation last year and then an 11 this year – but time keeps happening! Looks like we’re doing a 12-year compilation earlyish next year mixed by myself and Konstantin Gabbro (AKA Papa Sang Bass), who I started the label with.
Kenneth, it’s been a blast to meet you. Best of luck with the album and thank you for the great answers!
01// [a]pendics.shuffle – Ritual Horns
02// Mikael Stavostrand & Shaun Soomro – Underbelly Symphony
03// Benno Blome Feat. Baby Ford – Check Check
04// [a]pendics.shuffle – Touching Space Feat. Kelly Johnston
05// Click Box – Flipping
06// Tony Casanova and Danito & Althina – Out Of Focus
07// John Tejada – Adret
08// Toktok – Monkey B
09// Daze Maxim – Darkness In Your Pocket
10// Miro Pajic – I Believe in You
11// Dance Spirit – Contemplations
12// The Orb – Lunar Caves