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Marcus Cotten is Channel In, Channel Out, a one man experimental band from Portland, Oregon. He writes and records lo-fi, ambient electronica compositions using piano, guitar, keys, sound clips, programming and even a typewriter (what's a typewriter?).

Channel In, Channel Out's music is a tapestry of eclectic influences and styles that include electronica, classical, minimalism and indie/alternative, accented by a fascinating repository of sounds that exist in nature, in urban life and Cotten's imagination. You can hear water drips, wind, traffic and other strange and familiar sounds and notes that flow in and out of his compositions like a slow, meandering river colored by soft rhythms, harmonies and melodies.

He even makes use of his own 'instrument' - a vintage radio transmitter receiver that reacts to a custom made remote control to pick up sounds traveling through the airwaves. To speed up, or slow down, the sounds transmitting from the receiver, and achieve whatever rhythm he has in mind, Cotten uses the remote control to move the antennas around "like a percussion instrument." Watch a video demonstration of the device.

"I wanted to find more authentic sounds, and there really weren't the sounds I was looking for available," Cotten told Indie Rock Cafe. "So I thought maybe I would try to create something. I am fascinated by every day sounds, so a lot of times I hear things that aren't usually used for instruments, and think, 'well, maybe that could be.'" A friend suggested he call the 'instrument' a MarCot, using the first three letters of his first and last names.

However he does it, Cotten possesses clear signs of a musical prodigy. His moniker, Channel In, Channel Out, is aptly fitting because the music has a 'channeling' aspect to it that is easier to hear than to describe. Cotten points out that his music does not fit a genre on purpose because he is interested in creating music "with no different sounds and visual experiments" driven by "the atmospheres of scenery and nature and by the wonders and puzzles of every day life."

Electro dream pop combines with church-to-opera-like vocal harmonies and Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) type minimalistic experimentation on the song, "Invalid Entry and the Enchanting Word." Cotten integrates various sound effects with radio broadcasts, conversations, and the accompanying video (see above), furthers the theme of searching for a place in the world. Other stand-out tracks on the EP include the amazing "I'm Pondering A Number from 1 to 10" and "A Modulating Perception."

Cotten's musical influences include Apex Twin, Alfred Schnittke, Syd Barrett, Jefferson Airplane, Radiohead, Mum, Brian Eno, Phillip Glass and 1960's Pink Floyd. The latter three musicians/bands influence on his music is apparent - experimental, lo-fi, minimalistic, artistic and enchanting.

Cotten was recently featured on American Public Radio's Market Place, which played his song, "Combative Dialogue Thru Thin Walls." He has received his credentials as a film composer for his contributions to the indie action/horror film VS, by director Kevin Richmond. Cotten is signed with indie label Izumi/Imoto Records, and has a modest, but loyal following in Japan. Learn more, and check out the store, at Channel In, Channel Out's MySpace page and the official website.

It would be great to hear what others think about Channel In, Channel Out's music; just use the Comments section below; no signing up or logging in required. The best description of his unique music will be picked at the end of this week, and the winner will receive a free digital copy of The Author and The Narrator EP. Please make sure to include your email address.

"Invalid Entry and The Enchanting Word" - Channel In, Channel Out from The Author and The Narrator EP (2009)

"I'm Pondering A Number Between 1 and 10" - Channel In, Channel Out from The Author and The Narrator EP (2009)


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   September 23, 2009   


At 8:10 AM , Anonymous dexter said...

"... and his remarkable voice that sounds like a cross between Tom Yorke and Brian Eno"

it probably should be called THom Yorke

At 12:46 PM , Anonymous Heather said...

Brilliant review of Channel In Channel Out! I absolutely adore his work...from his soft toned illustrious vocals to the woven guitar strums, and experimental sounds he produces, makes my surroundings and world full of charming Magical Feelings and makes me feel child-like in a heavenly realm! Not only does he make me feel like a child , but also he has so much heart and depth that is beautiful relativity and warmth to my being!....such a wonderful blended combination to fondle my ears and mind! ...i could paint a non-existant rainbow listening to him...! thank you for posting this brilliant article on his work!!! he deserves it! Hes as sweet as he is talented! ;)
-heather, (Lady Moth)

At 8:35 PM , Anonymous ali sabella said...

Just want to say Marcus Cotten's music has really opened my mind to the beauties in life. He uses unique instruments and creates great sounds in his work. I will continue to listen to his peaceful songs while I think about the meanings to his lyrics.

At 9:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is something really childish - not bad way tho about the music and repetitive. i like it, but i'm very interested to see how marcus progresses as a musician. i would say this is a good starting point and there is definitely value to his art. i'd think a great producer would help that progresson.

cat robin

At 5:39 AM , Anonymous Heather said...

I just have to say this to cat robin, though i respect your opinion, i have to relay what alot of producers do, haha, alot of them are money thinkers, hardly artists and corrupt and ruin artists with catchy tunes that sell and that spoil the integrity and spirit of the artist and only think about selling a product rather than sharing the power of expression. I think Marcus is a true genius and genuine producer of the heart, not only is he imaginitive, but he also is all about the art of something, opening minds to intellect! when i first met marcus he tried to give me a cd for free! haha, he is beyond worthy of praise so give it to him and i had to deny him for he is of worth!
-heather (Lady Moth)

At 1:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel in, Channel out music sound..very distant as telling a story from another dimension like outer space, makes you feel apart of something else, its movie like makes you want to listen for the next part..its just music to listen to in an "underground world" full of mysteries...makes you believe there is one! with channel in, channel out music



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