Perhaps Chicago’s most innovative, TRS-80 mixes breakbeat, IDM, old school hip-hop, downtempo, and electro rhythms with analogue synths, samples, and sounds. Amazingly, and unlike most other electronic based projects, TRS-80 is able to perform it all live. Kent Rayhill and Deb Schimmel both commandeer a myriad of keyboards, samplers, and other mysterious gadgets on stage, while drummer Jay Rajeck acts as the human sequencer to a perfectly synched video show projected overhead. Analysis meets artistry in the TRS-80 studio, where these same instruments, along with obscure ‘found’ audio, is recorded and then manipulated to the point of unrecognizable return. This collage of elements and influences puzzles and delights in the clubs and on recorded formats.
Shake Hands With Danger finds TRS-80 light years ahead of their already futuristic repertoire. They have orchestrated an unprecedented number of ideas and directions on Shake Hands With Danger, into a unique hybrid of analogue v. digital mastery. Dizzying breakbeat intricacies make way for blissful downtempo textures. Then, Neptunes-inspired ghetto grooves disintegrate back into spastic cut-up beats. The track ‘Motoki’ even falls oddly into character despite its featuring carved up metal riffs performed in-studio with a B.C. Rich ‘Warlock’ guitar through a 4-inch by 4-inch Marshall pocket amp.
Formed in 1997 by the three Chicago natives, TRS-80 released an EP, album, and twelve-inch on their own. The group signed to Invisible Records in 2000 and released three albums in three years. Meanwhile, the group started packing local Chicago venues and contributed to well over a dozen different compilations including those derived in Canada, France, Japan, and by Germany’s Digital Hardcore, and alongside artists like Fischerspooner, The Orb, Atari Teenage Riot, N.E.R.D., Coldcut, Alec Empire, Meat Beat Manifesto, Khan and EC8OR. They've also written several songs for NPR's 'This American Life.' TRS-80 returns in 2003 on File 13 Records, a perfect partner of aesthetic, ideal, and location. Fans of DJ Shadow, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada and many more will be delighted by TRS-80’s best album yet.