From The Boston Herald, March 2009
An article about Boston-area artists participating in the RPM challenge.
MacGregor Campbell turns creaky doors, computer printers and cookie sheets into droning, expansive soundscapes.
From Blogtown, Feb 2008
Portland: In 60 Words
Posted byon Thu, Feb 21 at 10:51 AM
“On President’s Day, Portlander MacGregor Campbell strapped a sign to his chest reading “say one word into the microphone” and walked from his house on the East Side, down to Pioneer Square, with a tape recorder. Listen to the results, here.
I love content like this. Stuff where people get off their asses and go out into Portland, asking questions. “Reporting,” I think is what it used to be known as, although these days it’s practically revolutionary.
If you think you can do better, send me your mp3.”
From Willamette Week, Feb 2007
The Ownership Society (Bridgetown Breaks)
[POSTMODERN HIP-HOP] I don’t really know what to call MacGregor Campbell (a.k.a. Main Sequence) of Bridgetown Breaks Records. Composer? Curator? Producer? DJ? As the man behind the sample-fueled The Ownership Society, a schizophrenic album that orbits crookedly around themes of conspiracy theory and bad government, he’s all of those things.
Similar in feel to DJ Shadow’s famed Entroducing, The Ownership Society (which is named, Campbell says, after “a re-contextualized buzz phrase from Bush’s attempt to get rid of Social Security”) is a collage of old radio, film and television voices that act as mouthpieces for the artist’s own feelings. And, also like Entroducing, Sequence uses those disembodied voices to cut through spacey, soundtrack-worthy instrumentals. Taken individually, the vocal samples often seem random: They range from comically outdated (a radio personality asking, “Does my TV set use more electricity than an electric chair?”) and creepy (an audibly shaken dude explaining with fervor, “You and I can be happy—not just now, but for the next 20 minutes”) to mysterious (“For 3,000 years, men gazed at the far-off moon, and dreamed of going there someday”). Despite Sequence’s tendency to thematically wander (“Atlanta” seems to be about mind control, then makes gratuitous mention of “chicken burgers” and “almost indecently perfect pancakes”), Society remains coherent—if only in its disorder.
A real, live MC, Loc Thiese, is featured on “Look” and “Pay to Play,” but even Thiese’s rhymes are random—much like the sampled personalities that precede and follow him. Spouting conspiracy theories on California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Enron over soulful harp tones or fuzzed-out, bunker-busting machinery beats, Thiese does keep in line, however, with Society‘s general tone of discontentment. In fact, it’s only on instrumental-leaning tracks like “Fader” and “Untitled”—which pair multiple clean drum breaks with melodic, muted strings—that Sequence offers brief escapes from a pervasive dissatisfaction with his government and countrymen.
Puppeteer. Maybe that’s the best title for Main Sequence, who speaks vicariously through his splintered, sound-bitten victims, transforming them from forgotten fragments of pop culture into unwitting spokespersons for the coming revolution. Regardless of his title, schizophrenic times demand schizophrenic art: In that respect, Main Sequence is among the masters. —CASEY JARMAN.
The Ownership Society came out Tuesday, Feb. 27.
From Local Cut, Feb 2007
“This is one of the prettier and more sweeping tracks from Main Sequence’s (MacGregor Campbell from Bridgetown Breaks) debut album, Ownership Society (out Feb. 27 on Bridgetown Breaks). Sequence takes the song in multiple directions, from dance floor sweat-factory to DJ Shadow-ish spacey electro-jazz and then back into a darkly atmospheric steel-drum trance. After considering the track’s name, I was reminded of walking up the Belmont strip at night, past the Blue Monk, the bustling bars, the bickering street kids and the hippie drum shop that never seems to close. That movement, intentional or not, is inherent in the track’s foot-speed beat and ever-changing soundscape.
While this track isn’t representative of the album’s overall hectic vibe, it serves as a fitting retreat from that chaos (which is also something worth throwing oneself into).”
From Remix Magazine, September 2006
“HEAR THE DRUM, GET WICKED
Something is in the water in Portland, Oregon. Something funky. Bridgetown Breaks Vol. 2 ($13; www.bridgetownbreaks.com), available on CD or vinyl, features just less than an hour of straight acoustic drum tracks for you to sample, loop, scratch or beat juggle in your tracks or live sets — royalty free. Nine of Portland’s dopest drummers and the beatboxer Fogatron contribute beats, and there are also several kits worth of individual drum hits and some analog synth sounds thrown in for good measure.”
From Willamette Week, July 2006
Hip-hop producer Mystro weighs in on Portland’s indie-rock breaks album.
Not being a hip-hop producer, I really had no idea how to review Bridgetown Breaks Vol. 2, the second installment of breakbeats as performed by various Portland drummers and the beatboxer known only as Fogatron. For guidance, I’ve come to see Marc Petricciani, a.k.a. Mystro, founder of portland hip-hop label Battleship Records. Turns out that Petricciani is old-school. He uses analog technology instead of computer programs like Pro Tools, and, as a rule, he avoids break albums. “You don’t learn anything about the artist you are taking stuff from with a break record,” he explains.
Petricciani’s stance is understandable. Each of the cuts on this record—provided by drummers from such indie-rock bands as Talkdemonic, Menomena, Viva Voce and Binary Dolls—is little more than a short drum track meant to be sampled and looped by producers like Petricciani. And, while the second offering of Breaks is inventive, its tracks can’t help but feel divorced from an actual song and, some would argue, the soul of a song. When Mystro digs through crates, he isn’t just looking for some isolated percussion, he is looking to steal some feeling and ambiance. For Mystro, the process usually involves chopping the beats up and layering them with his own live percussion, creating a track both throwback and original.
Still, we listen to the Bridgetown Breaks Vol. 2 CD in Mystro’s living room in Southeast Portland, where he brings me various imported beers while his ridiculously cute pit bulls chase each other in and out of the house. The producer, dressed in a wife-beater and baggy shorts, is discussing the thrill of hunting for rare vinyl when we are interrupted by a particularly tight Bridgetown break from the Fiction Junkies’ drummer, Drew Shoals, called “The Untimely Death of Computers.”
“I like that. I’d use that snare,” Mystro says. “It’s really great to hear these indie-rock drummers kicking some funky shit. One of the main reasons I love hip-hop is you don’t get that whiny bitch attitude. Because the thing about a lot of indie rock is, Jesus Christ, you’re born in America and you’re white, what more could you ask for? Quit crying!”
Mystro can see his point has made an impression on me. “Most of these [hip-hop] cats are minorities that grew up in fucked-up neighborhoods where crack rules everything,” he continues, over Charles Neal’s Latin-flavored “Freedoggin.” “And they’re not complaining. They’re like, ‘I’m gonna make it past this.’”
Before I can say no, Mystro replaces my empty bottle with beer from yet another country. The distorted drums of Danny Seim’s “Courtney Taylor-Taylor” bleed into Fogatron’s “Rounds Coming Down Range.” “I’m always impressed with his shit,” Mystro says.
During the boom-chiks of Kevin Robinson’s rolling break, “Dark Crystal,” Mystro says, “I really dig these all a lot. I just wish they’d vary the recording style throughout the tracks. If they had one track that was crisp, one that was grimey and one where they decided to track it from down the hallway or something, you’d have a variety of different sounds going on.”
By the time Amanda Spring’s “Roboroboto” shakes its way onto the stereo, Mystro has grown a little impatient. “I’ve gotta play you something,” he says, running down the hall. He grabs a copy of an unreleased J Dilla recording called “Jungle Love.” It starts up with a burst. “Those are live drums. What they did is they took one of the floor toms and used it for a kick drum. You hear how grimey that bass is?” I nod in agreement, silenced by the beers. “It sounds like they recorded it with a Radio Shack microphone and stepped on it a couple times.” We listen to the beat in silence for a minute or two, our heads nodding in rhythm, then Mystro presses stop. “That’s hip-hop,” he says.
Ingredients 2, Holocene, April 2006
“We had Jamal and Melinda on the video working at Nemo in SE Portland. Meanwhile, Pluto, Main Sequence, Dj Tant, and Mano-destra worshipped at the temple of the MPC, also known as Bridgetown Breaks headquarters, just up the street. After agreeing on a very rough skeleton, the video people went off to create their magic, while the audio guys took turns trying to melt each other’s faces with bass hits created from horse hooves and morse code.”
Watch video… (patience, takes a minute)
From Coolhunting.com, July 2006
“We’ve got a promo copy to give away of Bridgetown Breaks Vol. 2, the 2nd edition of all original, live
drumming that features 10 of Portland’s best drummers, including Kevin O’Connor of Talkdemonic and Danny Seim of Menomena. The brainchild of PJ Portlock, a Portland producer and musician—from rock to experimental and hip-hop to jazz—the release is a goldmine for DJs, producers, and other musicians looking for samples or individual beats separated out from each drummer’s kit for programming. Available on CD and vinyl, you can get a copy from Bridgetown Breaks or get both by letting us know when and where you plan to listen to the album before next Tuesday, 25 July 2006 and we’ll select a winner from the best answers.”
Also on Cool Hunting: SXSW 4: Music Highlights