Celebrating Headphone Commute’s many years of content, I am highlighting albums that I covered 15, 10, and 5 years ago. I do this by going back through my archives and selecting a favourite for the current month. But I’m not just copying and pasting the words here; I’m also refreshing these write-ups a bit to bring them up to date, and, of course, I’m listening to all this music! And so should you!



We may not know the exact participants of this project (apparently, there were almost 20 people), but it’s pretty obvious that Sean Booth and Rob Brown of Autechre had their hand in this (at least on track “Slow Acid”). The clues for this 2003 EP are all in reference to a well-respected label, Skam. The collective hovered around Autechre’s DRAFT 7.30 (released only a week later on Warp), so many fans picked up on the glitchy destroyed patterns, doomed abstract chords, and unrecognized splattered percussion to be as an extension of the album. The artwork by Michael England contained in the sleeve of the record is a special bonus. The insert is a two-sided glossy print featuring a digitally modified image of a trumpet or perhaps a polished motorcycle exhaust pipe, creating an astonishingly bizarre MC Escher brass instrument, the likes of which could only belong to Booth and Brown. The CD version of the record has a bonus track titled “Megamix”. This is a 15-minute Gescom concoction which was originally featured on BBC Radio One’s “One World” show when they ran a Skam Records label profile.

2023 UPDATE: Sadly, Gestalt Communications has stopped putting out releases after the follow-up full-length release, A1-D1 (Skam, 2007) and a short echo a few years after, titled Skull Snap (2011), this time, surprisingly, appearing on Skam’s sublabel, Skullsnap Records. Autechre, of course, is still pretty active, always pushing the limits with their live performances, which have been collected and released by Warp under the AE_LIVE series.

Benn Jordan

Pale Blue Dot

I guess the reason that I keep listening to Benn Jordan is the fact that he simply makes beautiful music. Period. In fact, I catch myself restraining from listening to Benn Jordan too much. His short, full-of witty ideas tracks, produced under The Flashbulb moniker, have already conquered all of my charts. And the debut album under his real name is quickly gaining ground. Pale Blue Dot was Jordan’s entry into building ambient soundscapes, released on his own then Chicago-based label, Alphabasic. Composed as a tribute to an astronomer, Carl Sagan, Jordan explores the insignificance of our daily conflicts compared to our chance habitat on a tiny planet amid this infinite space. From 6.4 billion kilometres away, Earth is nothing but a tiny pale blue dot. But Pale Blue Dot is more than a thematic album. It is an ambient journey through hypnotic sound, quietly drifting you away into space. The transformations are flawless, and I often seamlessly reach that sacred place of presence by the middle of the album. If you expect Jordan’s playful breaks and acid lines, turn away now. But if you are a patient, pondering listener, then you will be playing this album on repeat. A rewarding experience for a discerning ear.

2023 UPDATE: Jordan is still a pretty active member of the scene. Sometime in 2017, he launched a YouTube channel and a show called Benn and Gear, reviewing musical instruments, providing sound design advice, and often exposing the dark truth of this music business. You can read my Interview with Benn Jordan for more on this topic. But all this publicity brought on the trolls, and only this week (Nov 21, 2023), he published a video titled “I’m Done w/ Gear Videos & Reviews“. Sigh. Alright, Benn, I’m with you on this one! Perhaps you’ll divert new free time to making more music! I am truly still listening to it all!

Ryuichi Sakamoto + Taylor Deupree


The music on Disappearance is both extremely minimal and infinitely complex. Numerous concentrated listening sessions reveal intricate details, from shuffling chairs and turning pages to occasional delays of piano chords, distant children drowned in reverb, scratched strings, warble of old reel-to-reel and barely audible breath. The atmosphere is hushed, restrained and discreet, but it doesn’t drone away with raw tonalities. Instead, Sakamoto’s prepared piano sparsely dances over a chromatic and dissonant scale while an indistinct ambience swirls in the background over the slight scraping of pickup microphones, found objects and the sounds of the room. The overall result is a fascinating language of music, which can only be understood in solitude by a focused, meditative mind. And that’s precisely how I tune in. I was lucky enough to witness the live performance between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Taylor Deupree in April 2012 in New York. My secret sources have revealed that that show planted the seeds for this album. Although I could never experience this amazing collaboration live ever again, I could forever be thankful to Deupre’s monumental 12k imprint for archiving it forever.

2023 UPDATE: As you’re most likely painfully aware, Sakamoto-san is no longer among us as of March of 2023. It’s still hard to believe and acknowledge this, especially as post-humous releases are appearing on my Release Radar, such as his soundtrack for the film Monster, released on November 22nd, 2023. Taylor is [thankfully] very much active, with his latest 7-track EP, titled Eev, appearing on Nettwerk Music Group this past August. I also enjoyed his collaboration with Arovane, titled Skal_Ghost, released on 12k at the end of last year.

Richard Devine


Atlanta-based electronic musician, producer, and sound designer Richard Devine has long been a purveyor of modular synthesizers, advanced DSP programming, and intricately complex experimentation. His nearly endless fascination with sonic architecture is evident from a strong social media presence, as well as mind-warping live shows and knowledge-sharing workshops. Appearing on a special outlet of Mike Paradinas‘ Planet Mu, named Timesig, curated by the one and only Aaron Funk, Devine returns with a dazzling arrangement of aural honour and respect that will hold its pedigree in history. After a twelve-minute amorphous opener, Devine dives right into his rhythms, and although the intricately manipulated percussion is full of microscopic intrinsics and effects, the head-nodding beat is still prevalent, allowing your mind to latch on to something to keep a steady metre. Listening to the brilliant juxtaposition of granular and physical modelling synthesis, I am slightly anxious about the state of my newly purchased bookshelf monitors as I watch the rigid surface of their 8″ drivers slowly pulsate with [what appears to be] inaudible pressure levels. Sort\Lave lays out a structure so desperately needed in a glitched-out synth improvisation – a grounding link with which the fans can then attach and let electrons flow from one mind to the other.

2023 UPDATE: I am happy to report that there has been more brain-twisting output from this master of sonic superstructures. Check out the 4-track SYSTIK, the 2-track Creature EP or the single Recursion Constructors. Plus, you can always follow Divine on his Instagram, where you can nerd out and drool over his gear. It’s no wonder that my special feature, In the studio with Richard Devine, is still extremely popular, even if it is already almost nine years old. Looking forward to glitching out more!