Poised Over Pause Buttons

Image of ADSR - Poised Over Pause Buttons
Record Label
Aural Medium

About this item

Late 80s / early 90s body music, Attack Decay Sustain Release, or ADSR, was the name of Todd Nickolas and Dominic Paterson's high school synthesizer group, an outlet for their electronic music experiments recorded on Todd’s parents’ farm in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.

In the idyllic rural setting of the Nickolas' dairy and crop farm, the juxtaposition of natural ambience and the repetitive rhythms of the machinery merged within their youthful music-saturated subconscious and found its way into their recordings. This bucolic environment also inspired the teenagers to channel their restless energy into endlessly experimenting with whatever gear they could get their hands on and listening to a steady diet of new music.

A big part of that exposure to non-mainstream sounds came via CBC Radio's Brave New Waves program - a saviour for adventurous and curious listeners living outside of major urban centres. The title "Poised Over Pause Buttons" is directly borrowed from a live studio broadcast by Severed Heads, where host Brent Bambury introduced the set by saying, 'Do you know how many fingers are poised over pause buttons right now?' The title is also a head nod to those early processes of recording onto cassette decks or 4-track tape recorders, and to the tape culture of the time, capturing favourite songs off the radio with precision and making mixtapes from owned or borrowed record collections.

Todd was constantly seeking new electronic music through those formative years - whether it was the futuristic space rock of ELO's “Time” in grade school, Skinny Puppy’s blistering electronic body music in high school, or the ambient bliss of Aphex Twin in university. The tracks coming from their studio in those early days were inspired by a steady diet of these new discoveries. They were rapidly devouring a wide variety of acts from 4AD and Wax Trax!, indie artists like Husker Du, Chicago house to Belgian New Beat, the On-U Sound label to Public Enemy, and all points in between.

The unreleased cassettes that Todd recently rediscovered (some of which are included on this release) are a flashback to that era of pure discovery but also a reminder of the explorations and achievements accomplished by the confidence of the fearless amateur. Over the past three years, Todd and Linus Booth have compiled their favourite glimpses from that '87-'91 period and present them to you as a personal reflection of that time and place.


Matt says: An expansive and intriguing EBM curio from Canada. ADSR take cues from Belgium new beat and that fertile pre-house period to concoct their own blend of throbbing, coital dance music.


I Dont Understand
Far Too Late
Great Mysteries
Is This The World
Suboceana Demo
Your Whole Life
Freak Response
As Soon As Possible V2
Where Are They Now

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