|An indie rock
Ian Asbjornsen - drums
Steven Chow - vocals, bass guitar, keyboard
Andy California - guitar
Mark Williams - vocals, guitar
Sculpted Static is an indie rock band from South Pasadena, California.
Their music reflects a wide range of influences, including Radiohead,
The Beatles, Pixies, The Smiths and newer indie rock groups such
as Guided By Voices and The Strokes. Although this quartet has
a tendency to experiment with instrumental textures and explore
different musical and lyrical styles, their finished product is
always pleasingly melodic and accessible. "Apart" and
"Telegraph Avenue" are two unique approaches to the
dreamy, meditative theme. "Curb Crawling" is more playful,
both lyrically and musically. The heavier "Not Enough"
and "Distance" pay tribute to the indie groups of the
past and present. "Mad Men" is a solid rocker and the
bandís response to recent world events. "Neanderthal,"
which features a sound collage and an extended guitar solo, is
their overtly progressive, Floydish track, but they still manage
to pull it off with a distinctly Sculpted Static flavor.
Actually, they don't really want to make a career out of music.
To begin with, they're not really musicians. They're more like
dog breeders. "We like to mix and match our favorite bands.
That's what we did on [the song] 'Nothing.' Morrissey meets Nirvana
with a bit of The Pixies. Now we think it sounds more like Sonic
Sculpted Static actually started out by combining Joseph Conrad's
imitation of Henry James with The Who's imitation of The Pretty
Things. The resulting explosion was the agonizingly long rock
operetta called "Heart of Darkness: The Rock Opera."
Undaunted by their inability to produce radio-friendly music,
the creative duo, trio and quartet went on to produce "Einsamkeit,"
a fusion of the rock and rap genres, and "The Lorax,"
which contains a glorious six-minute exposition of Andy's soloing
Mark Williams auditioned for the role of guitarist by playing
a metal solo about 32 times faster than Andy could at the time.
Quoth the bearded fellow, "When I heard Andy's incredible
rendition of the B minor and E minor chords [on 'Human Adventure'],
I knew I had to join the band."
He added, "One day, I too will write a song with only B minor
and E minor."
The day came a few weeks later, when the trio recorded their first
good song, "Lost Child." Amazingly, it's still available
on mp3.com, averaging about 5 plays per season. The band started
feeling the pressure to perform and pulled a few more tricks out
of their sleeves. "Yeah, [Lost Child] was great, but it was
time to write a song about drugs," said Steven, the studio
"Rock is dead," said Andy California. "You killed
So, the band turned to space aliens for help. Their next song
was called "UFO" and it became an instant hit on Andy's
friends' playlists. But, at 6:21, the song was too long to be
played on the radio. It was time for a change.
Andy and Steven came back from college and the reunified quartet
played a concert to their friends. The lucky 15 people who came
will forever remember it as the turning point in the band's career.
Roger, who was so impressed that he started playing them on his
college radio station, said of that concert, "I didn't go
to that one."
On May something, 2002, Sculpted Static was heard loud-and-clear
on the FM airwaves thanks to 90.7 KALX of Berkeley. Steven denies
bribing their DJs for that undeserved honor.
The following month, the band was revitalized with the addition
of the drummer, Ian Asbjornsen. To celebrate the news, they produced
their first album, Sound Check, with no contribution from
Ian. Seriously, though, Sound Check represented their best
material at the time. The original photos on the album cover and
the back of the CD case were first-rate.
Immediately after the release of Sound Check, the band
got serious. Steven said, "I don't know what happened to
us. I mean, holy shit. One minute we were writing about convenient
stores, and the next minute, we wrote 'Neanderthal,' which had
a lot of chords and was about the end of humanity."
"Beginning of humanity? Whatever."
That fall, Mark wrote a song called "Apart," and the
full band recorded it despite being a few thousand miles away
from each other. "That's definitely a breakthrough. Having
real drums and real harmonies on that record is just mind-blowing.
It's almost blasphemy. What happened to our old Sculpted Static
'sound' of synthesized drums? Fortunately, we still have fake
Unfortunately for Steven the keyboardist, the synthesized bass
was soon forced out of commission when Steven the bassist acquired
his Dean bass guitar from Musician's Friend.
After a disastrous winter break, which saw the failed recording
attempt of the song "Radio" and an over-ambitious and
mistake-ridden concert inside Steven's garage, Sculpted Static
bounced back like a zombie in 2003. In July, they played their
first public gig at the No Future Cafe. The following month, Sculpted
Static released their breakthrough album, Sunny Ash, a
fascinating compilation that covers many subgenres of alternative
rock. Momentum's definitely on their side. Can they overcome their
rock-and-roll laziness and their commitment to their academic
careers to become the next indie-rock stars?