Pitchfork (Website) - "MOTION GRAPHICS is an album largely about inner space, virtual reality, and the infinite expanses that unfold behind computer screens."
Audio Mixer: Drew Brown.
Recording information: 101 recording, Beverly Hills, CA; Lindbergh Palace, Brooklyn, NY; The Magic Shop, New York City, NY.
Motion Graphics is an electronic art-pop project inspired by the constant barrage of notification messages, pop-ups, and algorithmic data flow populating our daily lives. The heavily detailed songs are a seamless mesh of machine precision and human spirit, wrapping acoustic-sounding synthetic instruments in glitchy, fluid arrangements with rhythms approximating downtempo R&B grooves and soft, languid vocals to match. The architect of this futuristic sound world is Joe Williams, who has a history of musically reinventing himself, ranging from noise and IDM projects to his acclaimed glam-pop persona White Williams. A freelance sound designer, Williams created the album using custom software which scrolls through various sound banks, creating the musical equivalent of the surreal stream of unrelated images and messages one encounters when browsing their social media feed. The music is remarkably cohesive given its sporadic nature; while some of the tracks are closer to sound experiments, the ones with vocals are pop songs at heart rather than mere sound collages. Williams previously co-produced music by Baltimore-based electronic project Co La, and Motion Graphics certainly seems to share some aesthetic traits with several other artists who released material on the now-defunct Software label, ranging from the hybrid juke of Slava to the avant-R&B of Autre Ne Veut. James Ferraro and Software co-founder Oneohtrix Point Never have both grappled with similar post-modern subject matter, exploring MIDI tones (particularly plastic-sounding saxophones) and operating noises the way Williams does here, but he seems a bit more pop-focused. Likewise, his fluttering woodwinds and fixation on Japanese techno-pop pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra undoubtedly bring to mind CFCF, but there's much more of an element of the unexpected to Williams' music, as he interrupts his easy listening mutations with digital chirps, sound effects, and synthetic chorus vocals. "Anyware" and "Vistabrick" sound like the Art of Noise emulating Chicago footwork, while "City Links" is a sort of sideways slow jam. Jazzy album-closer "SoftBank Arcade (Swiftcode Version)" is one of the album's most experimental pieces. It begins with crashing, panning drums that don't seem rhythmic first, but then the track seems to fall into a more smoothed-out, accessible version of one of Mark Fell's brain-scrambling glitch pieces. Motion Graphics is a highly intriguing album of warped bitstream pop. ~ Paul Simpson