- As Codebase, techno producer Tom Butcher made the leap from the overcrowded underground scene to the international name-brand when he signed to Force Inc in 2003, following years of independent projects and laboring. Born in Houston and classically trained on the piano from the age of eight, by the age of twelve he was already recording his first compositions. Now based in Seattle, Butcher’s career was jump-started by a chance encounter with Swayzak, who went on to release two of his tracks on their 240 Volts label.
In 2003, Force Inc. Music Works released his debut album Style Encoding. Much of the music on “Style Encoding” bears the influence of a diverse roster of electronic mavens from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. From the synthetic pleasures of progenies like Brian Eno and Kraftwerk, through to the disaffected death disco of Giorgio Moroder, Nitzer Ebb, and New Order, through even further still to the pattern regenerations of Maurizio and Thomas Brinkmann, Butcher’s sound manages to incorporate and rework these earmarks into something quite inventive and invigorating. Force Inc. also released the first single from the album, “Seek and Destroy”, featuring remixes from dub-house pioneers Swayzak and minimal techno hero Stewart Walker.
2006 saw the release of the follow-up sophomore Codebase album Stuck In Time, extruding further Butcher’s integration of sounds of the past and present into new, darker, contemplative territory. The unique album has digital unlock codes affixed to the back of the cover, allowing free digital downloads of all its music. Electric pianos, syncopated beats, and analog disco-basslines again reminiscent of Moroder pepper its sonic landscape, yet this time around, the songs are darker and more introspective.
Codebase is equal parts techno, electro, house, and subversive pop sensibility. One of the strongest attributes of Butcher’s work is that it will leave you wondering where exactly to place it. Even in today’s culture of genre-bending and genre-delineation, Butcher’s work stands out as a transition, an anomaly.
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