Kevin Braun and Gina Kanter are The Modulated Tones, a fuzzy, psychedelic duo who sound a lot like
what The Velvet Underground would be doing today if its members stuck around to experience ’80s
shoegaze. The twosome released its debut EP, “Turning On,” this month, and it is a collection of seven
mind-bending, feedback-laden jams they call “the musical equivalent of a hash joint; or several.” With
screeching guitars, Braun’s droning, Lou Reed-esque vocals and some noisy, spacey sounds in between,
the release feels like a dark and magical ride through sonic space.
“Day Tripper” is the perfect introduction track to “Turning On,” as the band sets a clear mood with
experimental guitars and soft, noisy cymbals. The tune makes way for a more far-out number, “And
Then My Mind Split Open,” a weird, echo-centric number that is sure to alter a few states. Next is the
track the disc is named after, “Turning On.” Kanter’s muffled vocals sound like conversations in an
underground cave against ominous noise that mutes her words in an artsy fashion.
The disc’s third song is a little easier for the casual listener to swallow. “Dope” doesn’t skimp out on the
duo’s feedback-rich aesthetic, and it’s a purely instrumental track that sets the tone for “Kids Don’t Live
Enough,” a darker jam with sparse, dirge-like vocals.
The sixth tune on the disc is like the response to the call of “Day Tripper,” aptly titled “Night Tripper,”
and sounding much more haunting than the EP’s opening track. There is plenty of shoegaze-inspired
tones and deep experimentation happening on this release, and it is evident in its last two tracks.
“Convergence” closes the EP with heavy helpings of distortion and feedback with some oddly
placed, sci fi sounds tossed in while the song waxes and wanes in unpredictable patterns. It’s clear
that “Turning On” is meant to act as a soundtrack to a sensual experience rather than something to hum
along to. Slip on your headphones and get lost in the sonic signals The Modulated Tones are sending
from another galaxy.
By Brittany Nader