Podcast: Slow variations over time with Litüus

Chicago-based electronic musician Connor Camburn plays September 2 at Art In.


Litüus performing in 2016 at Arts + Literature Laboratory in Madison. Photo by Scott Gordon.

Litüus performing in 2016 at Arts + Literature Laboratory in Madison. Photo by Scott Gordon.

The music that Connor Camburn makes under the name Litüus is all about finding a lot of variety and a lot of sonic texture in a few simple elements. The tracks on the project’s 2016 release 1980.-19905 often start with one synthesizer sound, one repeating pattern, and in some sense make you listen to the same thing over and over again while constantly changing the emphasis. It can sound cold or forbidding at first, but it has a way of drawing you in. As my colleague Joel Shanahan noted in a preview of Litüus’ September 2 show at Art In, these tracks can often feel more like installations than like songs.

Camburn started the project in 2010. “It’s changed a lot since then, but at the time I was interested in making things that were really aesthetically and structurally minimal…at the time I was using very little equipment, on purpose, like as little as possible,” he says. “I’m always trying to find a loop or a repeating phrase where you could listen to the pattern or the sequence kind of indefinitely, but it doesn’t wear you out—it refreshes itself.”

While he’s currently based in his native Chicago, Camburn has also spent a couple of periods over the years living and playing in Madison, including in an earlier project called Slag Heap. “My introduction to the noise scene in general was kind of in Madison,” he says.

Litüus has a couple of new releases planned for later this year. Camburn isn’t ready to share details about those releases or the music, but he did let me have a listen. The new tracks certainly build on the glacial shape-shifting of 1980.-19905, but at times get even more minimal, with bell-like synth patches ringing out in eerily slow patterns. Some of the material finds Camburn getting a lot more invested in melody, but with his own particularly warped stamp.

Camburn spoke with me recently about the thinking behind Litüus, his time playing in Madison, and playing on a weird converted bus. Give our conversation a listen here or subscribe to the Tone Madison podcast on Apple Podcasts.

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