Karate Williams Diaries
Quiet Countries is the brainchild of Leb Borgerson, one of Portland, Oregon's master shape-shifters. At times a vehicle for electronic compositions jogging the line between IDM and instrumental hip hop, at other times an outlet for acoustic creations the showcase Leb's emotive and lovely voice, or as a unique combination of the two, the music is always distinctly a representation of Leb's singular compositional skills. His sophomore release, 'The Karate Williams Diaries,' was recorded when Leb suffered a hand injury that prevented him from playing guitar. A musical diary of sorts, 'The Karate Williams Diaries' are predominantly instrumental, varying from bombastic numbers to quiet, contemplative musings. "Karate and the Whale", for instance, builds out of a slow, pulsing groove into a tussle between five melodies, exploding into one another like musical fireworks, only to deconstruct and wind down like a broken toy. "The Sigh," on the other hand, finds a somber organ on top of slowly fading drums, a chopped guitar loop, and a ghostly reverse melody, reaching, slowly crescendoing into a brief second of resolution. 'The Karate Williams Diaries' is a tightly wound and more playful record than Quiet Countries' debut, but his unmistakable melodies, woven with strange timbres and broken, shuffling beats remain. His first record, 'No One Makes a Sound,' was released on the venerable Lucky Madison label (Talkdemonic, Horse Feathers), and was a long and somber record filled with slowly developing, beautiful compositions. It is a paranoid record seeking promise in tense times. Of the three vocal tracks,on the 'Diaries', "Ridiculous Riddles" features talented, young Portland MC, A.E.D, while "Dear Diary" is built on chopped up dialogue manipulated to work as percussion, and "El Radio Radio" has (finally!) Leb's reedy, beautiful vocals. Leb also performs with other Portland acts, including the inimitable Alan Singley & Pants Machine and is also the sole proprietor of the Imminent Music Company. Quiet Countries, however, is a work all his own, infused with countless influences, twists, turns, and inventions and a deep love of music in all it's forms. 'Great instrumental electronic with lots of hip-hop breakbeats in the vein of Flying Lotus meets Prefuse 73.' -CJAM 'The Karate Williams Diaries is a concept record that finds Portland's Leb Borgerson distancing himself from his singer-songwriter past, fully diving into the world of instrumental hip-hop. Recorded after Borgerson suffered a hand injury that limited his guitar playing, The Diaries (so called because each track is labeled with the date it was recorded-about as conceptual as the album really gets) is a largely instrumental pastiche of drum breaks and loops, filling the void left by Prefuse 73's One Word Extinguisher. Many tracks, like the ethereal "Karate and the Whale," build out of slow-pulsing grooves, with moody drums walking in and out of the song like a mother checking on her newborn every 30 seconds. The beats on the record are quite good, but a few songs suffer from the lack of a human touch or voice. Just three tracks feature singing (or guest A.E.D. rhyming), and after hearing standout cut "El Radio Radio"-the lone song to feature Borgerson's sultry vocals-one can't help but wish Karate Williams had written a few more words in his diary.' -Willamette Weekly 'This time Quiet Countries layers lines of breakbeat cuts with more oomph then ever before. Leb Borgerson, the brains behind QC, delivers a piquant, flowacious vibe that is very eclectic within many genre(s) . His PDX-influenced 80's-meets-futuristic art-hip-pop-synth hooks reinvent a familiar representation of NorthWest 21st Century intelligent alternative music. Some of the textures put forth bring to mind the vigor and aesthetic of Swords Project. "Dear Diary" is a club anthem for certain here. This track captivates you no matter what mood you are in. IF I gotta rate this work now, I can't give it no less than an A (...but Roeper might disagree).' -Pop Tomorrow 'Hindered by a hand injury, Leb Borgerson of Quiet Countries set out to make his latest recording a guitar-less affair. The Karate Williams Diaries is a recording that balances Endtroducing's artistic vision-dusty samples, restrained beats, grand instrumental arrangements-with a free-for-all of soft digital pop (think Album Leaf) and some hiphop thrown in as well. It's those moments in particular-courtesy of guest emcee A.E.D.-that highlight the recording, offering a perfect combination of tempered instrumentals with hiphop swagger. The only downside? Not enough A.E.D. If these two collaborate on an entire record together, look out.' -The Portland Mercury.