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DARK SPARKLER - Are You Working With Me, Or Against Me? (Vinyl)

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Behind The Sky is proud to present their 11th release, a sublime and intense document of Buchla compositions recorded live with no computer sequencing. Moving from impressionistic ambient to proto-industrial dissonance into segments of cathartic release, the songs on this album exhibit a sophisticated approach to sound design and emotionally resonant narratives.

“I think about the question “Are you working with me, or against me?” a lot. Usually in regards to my relationships or most often my past self, but this time it was in the context of my instrument. There are sections of the instrument that are designed to work together, but there are points in that partnership where the two sides turn on each other and form chaos. For this album I spent a lot of time dealing with this chaos. Shaping it, fighting it, trying to reason with it. All the while asking “Are you working with me, or against me?” Eventually, by force and at times by accident, I was able to negotiate some beauty out of the chaos. I tethered it to simple melodies and rhythms I connected with, and that brought balance. I got my answer. “ – Kyle Swisher / DARK SPARKLER

DARK SPARKLER (Kyle Swisher) grew up with music as his passion. He loved playing guitar and writing songs in bands, but the one thing about music he obsessed over the most was tone. Tone is what gives music context. It can exhilarate, gut, or lull without changing a note. So once he found Buchla modular instruments, he fell in love. With the instrument’s infinite timbral variety, and the tactile ability to control them, he was able to write music with tone as the main character. Embracing the history of the Buchla being a performance instrument, he records his songs live. Performing in real time with no MIDI or overdubs.

Since 2017 DARK SPARKLER has found success and kinship in the Seattle modular community, performing in several events including Modular Seattle & Patchwerk’s Velocity Festival and the Lusio Light Art Festival. He’s also released 2 albums, and composed music for several modern dance performances. The new album “Are You Working With Me, Or Against Me?” distills and refines characteristics from DARK SPARKLER’s past 2 releases, culminating in a cohesive record that he hopes others will connect with.

In the Summer of 2019 Kyle continued his exploration with Buchla instruments through a different avenue, by starting the Source Of Uncertainty Podcast. He has since gotten to opportunity to interview legendary composers that use the system like Morton Subotnick, Suzanne Ciani, Barry Schrader, and Todd Barton.


released November 27, 2020

All songs performed and recorded by DARK SPARKLER in Bothell, Washington except for “Last Patch” performed at EMS in Stockholm, Sweden.

Music Video for "Snow Day": Evan Bluetech bluetechonline.com

Song “2” written by Kevin Shields, performed by DARK SPARKLER.

Mixed by Ben “DivKid” Wilson: divkidvideo.com

Mastered by Shawn Hatfield: audibleoddities.com