This music is so fun, it’ll make you puke. Or, at least, that’s what Pytch Records co-founders Ryan Olcott, Nikki Pfeifer, and Garrison Grouse say about their collective’s experimental-pop projects.
When Olcott previewed Pytch Records’ new sampler for a friend — who was drunk at the time, it should be noted — the tape’s ever-bending notes proved too fun for the dude’s stomach.
“I think I made two people throw up off our music so far,” Olcott says of Pytch, which currently just reps its founders' solo projects. “It’s warped. It gives you that nauseatic feeling of like, ‘Ugh, I can’t tell if I’m getting sick, or if I’m just euphoric.'”
Don’t worry, though, the three artists didn’t create a record label just to make people sick.
Olcott, Pfeifer, and Grouse united under their mutual appreciation for lurching dream-pop to form Pytch Records. Their goal is to release music that presents an alternate pop landscape, where modern music is influenced by the gentle, gooey frequencies of old cassettes. But what does that even mean?
Delving into creative worlds like vaporwave, darkwave, chillwave, glitch, and other vague Tumblr aesthetics, the three kept a laser-focus on absorbing those influences to form a lo-fi, electronic label. Out of that exploration, each musician created their own psychedelic beats and solo projects inspired by futurist art and manipulated to sound like a cassette tape.
It might sound like a lot of info to process while jamming out, but the three friends hope you'll boogie in their musical haze Thursday at Kitty Cat Klub at the release party for Pytch Records Sampler, Vol. 1.
Lyrically, Pytch’s artists don’t intersect. Grouse, who operates under his own name, takes us on a dizzying, hazy wooze through his surprisingly active lifestyle with "Working On." Where Pfeifer’s Devata Daun project moves us gently through her own déjà vu, Olcott does his best robot pop star impression as c. Kostra.
Their debut albums are all out soon: Devata Daun's Look (April 14); Grouse's With That Said (May 13); and c. Kostra's Now I Feel It (sometime in June).
As a producer, Olcott developed Pytch’s signature woozy sound with a little-explored engineering technique: pitch deviance.
Put simply, pitch deviance is a precise technique of pushing frequencies in different directions than your ear expects the sound to go, Olcott explains. Filtering those sounds through a lens that keeps them lo-fi is another deviance technique.
“It’s very pitch-deviant, that’s the core of it,” Pfeifer says, adding that you shouldn’t puke unless you’re drunk or listening in hi-fi. In fact, Pytch’s production blocks any chance to hear it in hi-fi, and that’s the point.
“If it was fully hi-fi, it wouldn’t have that same sound,” Grouse says. Olcott grins. “No, we want it to sound like a tape that’s been rotting in a car for years,” he says.
Formed in August, Pytch began throwing ideas around for a label based on their shared admiration for specialty imprints like Warp and 4AD. Another unexpected influence? Prince.
“People all over the world are waiting to hear this from Minneapolis again,” Olcott says. He wants Pytch to pose as a future-look into what Prince’s Minneapolis Sound might’ve turned into, had the ‘80s musical trend continued.
Olcott hopes the small label will slowly push other Twin Cities musicians in the same direction, like Prince did by writing music and producing hits for others behind the scenes. However, Olcott is not the second coming of the Purple One, thankfully.
“I’m not saying I’m close to Prince,” he says. “There’s such a pool of incredible talent here. If we just focus people, we might create a unified staple in the world, musically.”
Pytch Records mixtape release party
With: c.Kostra, Devata Daun, Garrison Grouse, Sloslylove, Alibaster Jones, DJ Keith Millions.
When: 10 p.m. Thu., March 17.
Where: Kitty Cat Klub.
Tickets: $5; more info here.