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The best kept secret in music


"Shuttlecock - Existing Bridges"

If Primus is the raging mescaline trip of rock’n’roll, then Shuttlecock may be the attempt to explain such a wild adventure through a sober mind. At no point is the group’s Existing Bridges (Shuttlecock Record #5) ever lacking in delightful oddness, unexplainable aural conversations or inescapably impressionable results in comparison to that great musical cult classic band.
Expectedly, Shuttlecock is relentless in their experimentations, avoiding conventional song structures like they were diseased, and coming up with a short quartet of songs that are breathtaking for those with an insatiable taste for the musically unpredictable. The pity, of course, is that the (non) Existing Bridges are only four tracks deep, ending at about the point when one should be salivating at more of this atmospheric expertise.
Yet, let’s not talk dismissively of this EP, especially since this obscurely moody dabbling between indie-rock greatness, grassroots psychedelia, acid-rock grandeur and experimental electronic inducing is not the least bit unworthy of consecutive listens for those insatiables. A musical theory on Primus’ mescaline it may be, but with lovingly languid streaks of The Doors peyote and the Pixies schizophrenia tossed in for very, very good measure, as well.
-Bill Mahoney

- TechnoPunk Music - 2003

"Shuttlecock - Existing Bridges"

Existing Bridges
Four tracks, two artists, Bob Weston, and a whole lot of Devo records. That's what it takes to make the Existing Bridges EP. From the moment the music begins, we are whisked away by pogo stick to a world of silliness tempered by nightly Don Caballero shows. Shuttlecock creates the musical equivalent of a lawn dart: in some ways, it's a toy, and in others, it's a weapon. Either way, you must pay careful attention.

"Landmark" is a highly acrobatic track with enough clicks to make Michael Flatley fall on his behind in imitation. It then moves to a stingingly melodic guitar line and shifts in and out of chugging dynamics and thin vocals. Each track is unpredictably soft and sharp, laying clear points of interest like a path along the way.
"Analemma" begins as the most predictable track, in terms of the time signature gymnastics popularized by math rock. As two warbling throats warm over prickly beats and propulsive bass lines, the track brakes and accelerates post-rock at a whim.

Lastly, in "Sub20lbs.", a clanging bell introduces a great expanse of near-silence and the feel of threatening footsteps in a room where you thought you were alone. It ends in a simulated helicopter of guitar tapping, vying for escape. Of the four tracks presented, it is the least musical, but perhaps the most daring. Shuttlecock stands unafraid to play down the musical aspect of their project in search of art, and strap you in as it turns another sharp corner.

- Lost at Sea online magazine -2003

"Shuttlecock - Existing Bridges"

This four-song EP by the silly-named Shuttlecock came on promises of silliness and tough humor, AKA "shellac meets devo." Though it didn't really deliver on those promises, it is an interesting enough little record to warrant mention. The two fellows who make up Shuttlecock are dudes with a sense of humor; their songs sound funny, even if they're not particularly meant as such. Ever laughed at a comical guitar riff? I mean, really, not since Raymond Scott or PDQ Bach have instrumental bits sounded so funny! This is math-rock made with a Mr. Professor Fun Calculator, and it's quite pleasant. That they mention on their sleeve that, "to be clear, there is no use of any type of modern sampler, sequencer or midi device on this recording or any live performances, for that matter," means these guys gots the chops. Angular, moody, but in a silly way, these four songs breeze by, and though it sounds like serious po-faced rock for musos, it's actually a fun-filled romp through rock. I'm particularly fond of the final, epic "Sub20lbs." More fun than Sweep the Leg, Johnny! and less serious than 90 Day Men, Shuttlecock provide sixteen minutes of downright fun. In an angluar, "my kid is an honor student" kind of way.--Joseph Kyle

- Mundanesounds - 2003

"Shuttlecock - Existing Bridges"

Shuttlecock makes math rock. The hard stuff. The emotion that math rock radiates is often annoyance, anger, those kinds of feelings. No mercy. The music is rugged and often very straight forward.
Shuttlecock can be named with Shellac, Don Caballero- the big names. But Shuttlecock brings more than rugged riffs and heavy baselines. One thing that is striking is the spaciousness, the record breathes and on the whole that is very positive. Only two men are responsible, which is an achievement all on its own, because it definitely doesn’t sound empty or desolate. A Moog is used, synths and the standard guitar-drums-occupation. Variety is achieved by almost marimba-like drum work and varied hooks and base grooves. A pity it’s an EP, because after the last track you want to hear how it goes on, into the deep. Shuttlecock can do more and will do so. Otherwise people will just laugh a lot because of the name.
Translated by Fiona Corcoran

- Kindamuzik Modern Muziekbald

"Shuttlecock - Machine-Extended"

Shuttlecock has been around for about five years, rising out of the ashes of Omaha. They play quirky, art-damaged post-punk that you could call prog-rock or math rock, if that makes you happy. The songs are based around staccato riffs, with plenty of tempo changes and quiet parts, and the odd electronic effect. The vocals are a bit geeky, but geeky-menacing like Devo was, and the lyrics are cryptic and sparse. The quieter songs reminded me of fIREHOSE, but maybe that's just because both bands have amazing drummers and vocalists with Midwest twangs. The band is capable of genuine beauty, but the overall effect of Machine-Extended is a feeling of unease and anxiety due partially to the edgy riffs that will never allow you to fall into a groove, and partially due to the lyrics, which make references to memory, technology, mathematics, and the concept of time. Shuttlecock are intellectual without being pretentious, and listening to this record gave me the same feeling of satisfaction as looking at an abstract painting; it seemed to say a lot without saying anything directly, and I knew that I liked it even if I didn't totally understand it. Shuttlecock make guitar-driven music sound relevant and contemporary, which is no small feat in this day and age.

-Patrick Taylor

- Clamour magazine 2004

"Shuttlecock - Machine-Extended"

You can’t read a single Shuttlecock review without seeing that word in there. So I solemnly resolve that I will only use it one more time. You can count on it. Shuttlecock are Toledo’s secret treasure. I say secret because catching the band live in the Glass City is about as easy as catching the great white whale in the Maumee River. Some may wonder why Shuttlecock aren’t more eager to perform in the town they proudly call home. I don’t dare presume to speak for them, but perhaps it’s because the majority of the Toledo audience simply wouldn’t get it. And I don’t think they’re itchin’ to play behind a chicken-wire screen anytime soon.

Shuttlecock has changed quite a bit since the release of their last CD, This Is The Hour of Lead. The three-piece has slimmed to two with the departure of bassist Andrew Leitner. The sound difference is staggering. The loud, angular rumbling of previous records has been mostly tempered and augmented with the beeps and bleeps of sequenced synthesizer. The end result is a record that comes off not as sleeved influences and hero worship, but as a sound that evolved by subtraction.

Recorded by Bob Weston (of Shellac fame,

- continued.

and also one of the world’s best engineers), Machine-Extended takes the potentially glossy and fake synth lines and makes them live and breathe like the guitars and drums always have. The minimal production is well-suited for such minimalist stop-start tracks as "Orbit" or "Code," but leaves a touch to be desired for more fleshed out tracks like "Instruction." Regardless, the sounds captured on tape are wonderful, raw and powerful. Just because the songs can be considered minimalist doesn’t mean these boys can’t play. Drummer John Hubbell is consistently inventive and teeters along the fine line between animal aggression and calculated precision.

Guitarist/vocalist Kenneth Chojnacki delivers his cryptic lyrics in a detached and earnest way that helps to effectively bridge the topical gap between science and the interpersonal, such as in the album closer "Theorem": "This is a theory designed to encompass all the dynamics between you and I." It just doesn’t look as beautiful in print as it sounds coming off this disc.

It’s a shame that you can only see this band play here in Toledo on approximately the same frequency as Halley’s Comet. A town whose indie scene needs guidance and a focal point for forward progress is being deprived of one of its greatest potential assets. I promise I’ll block all the incoming beer bottles myself... — Justin R.L. Hemminger

- 2002

"Shuttlecock -- Existing Bridges"

I think I remember hearing Shuttlecock a few years ago on some compilation or sampler and writing them off as Shellac wannabes. Perhaps I need to check myself because Shuttlecock have either come a long way or I was having an ignorant day. Yeah, Shuttlecock do play steady and driving math rock and that guitar sound is extremely reminiscent of Alibini's, and a certain Mr. Weston recorded the affair, but Shuttlecock abuse space and time unlike Shellac ever have, drawing out repetitive beat after repetitive bass line. Then there are those electronic rhythms and analog synth sounds that certainly set them apart from their Chicago influences as well. Only two men create this mechanically precise and cold music, Kenneth Chojnacki on guitar, synths and vocals, and John Hubbell on drums, synths and vocals. At a brief 4 songs, this EP is a really nice introduction to Shuttlecock's sound for those interested, and if you've ever found yourself craving a new and interesting take on the math rock formula then this is a damn good bet.
-Dan Rizer

- Bettawreckonize - 2003


FRI 013 | Existing Bridges | CD

Recorder: Bob Weston | @ Key Club Recorders | Benton Harbor, MI.
Mastered by John Golden

ICR 004 | Machine-Extended | CD
Dynamics of Memory
Six Feet Tall
Ice Age
Dynamics Of Memory

Recorder: Bob Weston | @ The ODUM | Chicago, IL.
Mastered by John Golden

ICR 002 | Chojnacka | 7"
Side One:
Side Two:
Ellis Island

Recorder: Bob Weston | @ Uber Studios | Chicago, IL.
Mastered by John Golden

ICR 001 | This Is The Hour Of Lead | CDEP
The Gunfighter Suite
i: The Finger And Fate [to preview click here]
ii: The Prayer Of The Gunfighter
iii: One Bullet Less
Gravity (Displacement Of Order And Time)

Recorder: Bob Weston | @ Uber Studios | Chicago, IL.
Mastered by John Golden

AA34 | Report | 7"
Side One:
Side Two:
32 Degrees

Recorder: Bob Weston | @ Electrical Audio Studio B | Chicago, IL.
Mastered by John Golden


Feeling a bit camera shy


Shuttlecock play quirky, art damaged, post-punk that you could call prog-rock or math rock, if that makes you happy. The songs are based around staccato riffs, with plenty of tempo changes, quiet passages and assorted odd electronic effects. The vocals are a bit geeky, but geeky-menacing like Devo was, the the lyrics are cryptic and sparse. The overall effect can be described as angular, moody and minimalist in nature.

A Moog Taurus analogue synth is used, as well as, Simmons Electronic Drums. These two instruments coupled with the rugged guitar riffs and the precise, aggressive drumming create a spacious and complex dynamic that is both powerful and acrobatic. To be clear, only two men create the music of Shuttlecock and that is an achievement all on it's own. For there is no use of any modern sampler, sequencer or midi device during a Shuttlecock performance or recording session, for that matter. And, the music in no way sounds empty or desolate.

Shuttlecock is relentless in their experimentation, avoiding conventional song structures like they were diseased, and creating songs that are breathtaking for those with an insatiable taste for the musically unpredictable. With that said, the bands ability to write and perform their music is unique, striking and downright interesting.