After finishing ‘Reason Isn’t Radar,’ I discovered Ryan Huber’s work as Bobcrane and Olekranon, both of which were distributed by Stickfigure. He used guitars to varying degrees, and favored droney, distorto, boombox-in-the-red methods. I got in touch with him, he was game, and we started collaborating on what would become ‘We Substitute Radiance’ in early 2007.
The process was convoluted. Ryan lived in Bloomington, Illinois. I lived in Atlanta. We were separated by over 500 miles, had different software/hardware setups, and there was no practical online file sharing available at the time. So, we snail-mailed CDRs back and forth and emailed, emailed, emailed. We only talked on the phone twice.
This was a new way of working for both of us, and I suppose we liked it, because we managed to assemble six tracks of psychotropic headphone food. James Plotkin mastered it all, which was another first. The results were released in 2008.
Sadly, years later, Ryan and I have yet to be in the same room.” – Sean Moore
“An art-damaged jam between Tangerine Dream, early 90’s Residents, and a dubbed-out electro-King Crimson. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.” – Public Guilt
“Like a hallucinogenic mushroom cloud slowly dissolving in a dark dance club, bathing the dancers in radiation.” – the one true dead angel
“Wicked, textural, and disturbing.” – MastanMusic
“So mind bendingly complicated that to try and analyze it at any great length is enough to cause a brain hemorrhage for even the most decorated of polymaths.” – Subba-Cultcha
“A bizzaro world aesthetic that manages to be dark and disturbing yet reassuring.” – Ohmpark
Release DateApril 28, 2008
Flying Undead Overhead
"Music to die painfully, yet quizically to. Oh my God, my fucking head is killing me.. I'd like to tell you that the pounding cranium agony is the result of knocking back a few too many vodka's, or possibly the result of a swift trip down the stairs that resulted in me landing with my legs over my head, after conking my skull on every step on the way down. Sadly, none of the above are even remotely close to the truth. No dear readers, the reason for your scribes unbearable agony is the result of spinning "We Substitute Radiance", the result of a long-laboured project born of Austin-based Electro nutjob Ryan Huber, operating under the moniker Bobcrane and Atlanta-based drummer-cum-industrial whirlwind Sean Moore, acting under the alias Lid Emba. I would like to clear the air, not for one second would I dub "We Substitute Radiance" as a bad album, far from it. It's simply so mind bendingly complicated that to try and analyse it in any great length is enough to cause a brain haemorrhage for even the most decorated of polymaths, as the duo take the listener on a journey deep into a realm of broken rhythm, gentle lulls and biting, jagged industrial insanity. Starting with "Toxic Utopian", a track that begins with a gentle ambience before unfolding into an avant garde blend of static noise, angry feedback and off-kilt drums, setting the ground for what's to come. Following on with the likes of "Bird Brain" and "Stampeder", both caustic, head first dives into a black abyss of ungodly sounds; drawing together everything from fuzzy bass lines, to Casio keys, mangled drums and highly distorted samples. While the likes of "Braille Phantom Braille" and the epic album closer "Flying Dead Overhead" echo Hammond organs, classical elements and Tim Hecker-esque layered sonics, concluding in one of the greatest mind-manglings you're ever likely to endure. Fact is, "We Substitute Radience" is the proverbial alternative to someone tearing out your brain, throwing it in a meat grinder and then feeding you back your own grey matter. While to some this could be perceived as enjoyable in a highly masochistic way, to others this could seem an unapproachable extreme, to which they choose not to discover. But one thing is clear, this is uncontrollable and excellent, but one further; this is very selective listening. Approach with caution." - Tom Brumpton
"Researcher Lid Emba and Bobcrane have managed to create a beautiful piece of avant-garde electronica with We Substitute Radiance.Lid Emba is the alias of Atlanta-based musician Sean Moore and Bobcrane is the alias of Indianapolis-based musician Ryan Huber. The two artists decided to combine their talents and the result is the complex and very intriguing We Substitute Radiance. It's a struggle to find a way to describe this record, but perhaps a strong dose of "romantic pessimism" is not a bad start. We Substitute Radiance opens off with "Toxic Utopian," a track evoking the image of a chaotic and dirty urban landscape in a world full of broken-down technology. The track somehow manages to blend rockabilly-esque guitars and demented accordion-like sounds into an ambient framework. While the record is good throughout, "Toxic Utopian" is a particularly brilliant and pleasing number that helps set the mood for the entire trip. We Substitute Radiance slows the pace a bit with "Bird Brain," a mellow track that might trek the listener down a dark street at night with the stench from the sewers gently rising to the surface. From there, we're taken to arguably the album's second best track, "Ryan's Bender," a slightly more upbeat avant-garde number complete with more chaotic accordion-like sounds, video game noises, and an experimental indie rock feel. While the latter half of the album is not quite as strong as the first half, it does include one of the album's stronger numbers in "Stampeder." "Braille Phantom Braille," a minimalist track where circus-like sounds sparsely populate the background before an intense bevy of sound swarms in, also has its moments. With We Substitute Radiance, Lid Emba and Bobcrane have created a beautiful piece of avant-garde electronica. If you're a one-genre type of person, however, it might not be for you. The album manages to put its feet on the outer edges of indie rock, industrial, IDM, darkwave, ambient, and avant-garde experimentalism without ever completely diving into one genre. This makes the album stronger with very few dull moments, but at the same time, arguably makes it less accessible. Emba and Crane remind of a more structured and less insane ambient version of some of Mike Patton's projects (e.g. Mr. Bungle or Tomahawk) in that their music frequently goes through erratic shifts of style and they do not appear to have any fear of blending an extremely diverse set of influences together. We Substitute Radiance is definitely recommended to those who like an eclectic and experimental listening experience." - H.J. Huney