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Kraus Returns to the Dark Days of 2010 To Reissue His Debut Vinyl Album

Listen to a track from the the New Zealand home recordist's explorative first album, 'Faster Than The Speed Of Time'.

by Tim Scott
21 March 2017, 9:47am

In 2010, French labels Dilettante Courtoisie and Bimbo Towers released Faster Than The Speed Of Time, the debut LP for New Zealand musician, home taper and hippie apologist, Pat Kraus, or Kraus.

It was a wonderfully explorative album that had the Auckland, via Dunedin, Kraus – not to be confused with Brooklyn experimental musician Will Kraus –mixing guitar with synthesizers, the munted blends of drone and the raw sounds of classic electronic music. 

Kraus wrote, performed and recorded all songs with guitar, drums, bass and a homemade synthesizer to create a sound that you could almost see. It's a music formed through both experimental and popular music traditions. 

Seven years later, Chicago label Moniker is releasing Faster Than The Speed Of Time on cassette. Listen to the track "I Regret Nothing" from the tape and read a brief chat we had with Pat.

The record was released in 2010. What was that time like for you personally?
Pat Kraus: I was living in Central Auckland and it was a difficult time. My dad and my partner's dad had just died. I had my usual physical and mental pain to deal with but musically it was a creative period. I was starting to reconnect with the music scene after being isolated for years. This was when I met Spencer Clarke and Lieven Martens, who stayed with my when they visited New Zealand. Spencer's album Bamboo for Two totally blew my mind, and Lieven's On Seafaring Isolation is still one of my favourites. I met Mad Nanna when they toured here. It was also the year that I built my Serge modular synth, which was very exciting! The first recordings I did with it are on this album. It's a very deep machine. It feels like my second brain. Like, it can do a LOT of incredible things! But I will never 100% understand what's up with it.

At the time acts like Blues Control, Sun Araw and others mixing analogue electronics and psych were gathering momentum. Did you feel more of an interest in more exploratory music?

I feel like a lot of that passed me by, because I'm more focused on what I'm doing and what's happening around me. When I went to Europe a couple of years ago people were talking about the "Noise Boom", I thought they were referring to the 90s in New Zealand. Apparently they were talking about Wolf Eyes and stuff, which I don't really know anything about. One thing I did notice around 2006-2010 was a lot of review blogs that covered my stuff, and maybe that was a sign that there was more interest in weird music. That blog culture seems to have gone now.

Were you performing live ?
No. I played in bands like the Futurians as a drummer in the early 2000s, but then I stopped performing and Kraus was just a recording thing until 2013 when I started doing it live. The song "Beloved Girlfriend" from this album is now one of my most frequently performed songs. I had a dream that I stole the melody from Moondog but I'm not sure what Moondog song. If anyone knows please tell me.

Do you still record on the TEAC 144 Portastudio?
I still use it occasionally. It has a dark mysterious sound, and you can play with the speed control - you can hear me doing that on this album a lot. Beginning with the Supreme Commander LP, I changed to a TEAC A3340S reel-to-reel four-track. It's the same model that Chris Knox used to record the early Flying Nun stuff. I got it free because my friend was going to throw it away. It was made in the mid-70s and weighs 23kg, which is a pain because I'm disabled and move house a lot. It sounds great though. If you feed it back on itself it makes a sick echo effect!

I like the sound of tape, and making tape-loops is really fun. After recording a bunch of albums digitally from 2003-2009 I got really sick of working on a computer. It didn't feel creative or fun, and it encouraged a sick obsessive side of my character. Working with tape is more like craft play-time.

Why the reissue?
I always hoped that this album would be reissued because it wasn't widely available - especially in America - and it sold out pretty quickly. I think it's got a sense of excitement about my new synthesizer, and returning to tape recording, so it has an innocent quality and a freshness that I am proud of. There are a lot of nice details of tape manipulation - running the tape backwards and changing the speed - things that I had missed working on a computer. And there are some strong compositions like "Beloved Girlfriend", "I Regret Nothing" and "Rococo Clock". I hope people enjoy it.

'Faster Than The Speed Of Time' is available April 7  on Moniker Records

Image: Hans Van Der Linden