The (London) Sunday Times

IF you're one of those people who reckons the remixes are always better than the original tracks, then you'll love 310. All their tracks are remixes. Well, sort of. 310 are Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan. Dierker lives in Seattle, Donovan in New York. They make music like this: Dierker (or it could be Donovan) begins a track, then sends the tapes to Donovan (or it could be Dierker), who works on it some more. Their music has that vibrant quality of two imaginations going in slightly different directions you normally only get on remixes. It's instrumental (except for a few vocal samples); they started out influenced by prog-rock and ambient, but have drifted towards hip-hop. Their best tracks sound like neither: the military funk of Frosty Bardum, the skitterish, drum'n'bassy NOD and the chilled Pacific Gravity, with guitar work evoking Peter Green at his best.


The Wire Magazine

Most entries in this column, no matter what their merits, fit into some category or other - drone, disko, drift, dub - whereas 310 access the heart of something quietly unclassifiable: a cross-genre carnival/collage, its squeaks, eddies and irruptions drop out of some blue nowhere. 310 are Seattle-based Joseph Dierker and New York engineer Tim Donovan, and The Dirty Rope was pieced together through the post - which maybe accounts for the fabulously askew accretion of elements: moth wing tablas, luscious keyboard ripples, unobtrusive/unhackneyed samples, grappling hook guitars. No two tracks are the same, and taken as a whole The Dirty Rope is like waiting for the sonic lights to change, sound at permanent amber. At times it has the flavour of the 'Isolationist' or 'post-rock' ripple of a few years back (but louder, never palely loitering); while the quieter moments are reminiscent of offmap Talk Talk - a feeling of emerging from a dream or slipping into snooze logic. But 310's major tone is gleeful, generous, a real laughing gas - like one of Laswell's psychogeographical drifts except with life in its veins, not flowcharts. Oddly anonymous ('posted rock?), but intermittently sublime; a quiet riot.

Ian Penman


Pitchfork

Two years. That's how long it will take for chill-out to kick Moby and Fatboy Slim out of the American spotlight and into obscurity. You'll be like, "Chemical Twins? Huh?" Gun violence will be vanquished; spousal abuse will fall to an all-time low. School children will have books in their libraries and the elderly will be released from the oatmealy confines of retirement communities to teach us young whippersnappers how bloody marvelous it was back in the days before emancipation.

And all of you will be gently competing to relate what a rapturous experience it was when you first heard Coldcut's version of "Autumn Leaves" or bragging how little you paid for the double vinyl edition of the Irresistible Force's Global Chillage. So while we patiently wait for that gentle tide of beatlessness to wash over our blistered and bunioned toesies, the Seattle/NYC duo 310 present their third album, The Dirty Rope, to ensure a frictionless transition.

Coming on like the Groove Armada/Godspeed You Black Emperor! collaboration you all but abandoned hope for, The Dirty Rope is by turns cinematic and bounding. "NOD" offers a delicately stirring tabla-n-bass experience, undercut by the indiscrete big beat whomping of "Frosty Bardum." But we must thank 310 for getting their Fatboy selves out of the picture by this, the record's third track-- it frees up the rest of the album for the grainy, noir-ish chill-out this band was put on Earth to produce.

Often recalling the adept use of found sound and dialogue used in the film-without-images Sidewalks of New York by Uri Caine's Tin Pan Alley project, The Dirty Rope succeeds by providing us with audio clues to visual events. But these triggers aren't the melodramatic fits of your average multiplex blockbuster. Still, 310 are sufficiently aware that the typically floppy-fringed Sundance festival soundtrack won't satisfy, either. Perhaps the closest approximation of these cues would be Brian Eno's On Land (especially evident during "Under the Blue Words") or the tape-loop experiments of Steve Reich. But sometimes the music is enough in itself: "Pacific Gravity" overturns its burdened title by being a soothing unfurling of pedal steel guitar and snoozy beats; while "Six Month Zazen" is Scorn on liquid MDMA-- still slow, but ever so blissful.

Though considerable less art-house than Scanner, 310 won't likely become top choon on Salinas Beach, Ibiza, either. Still, if you're lucky to live in the shabby gentility of an East Village loft or even have a hankering for such a lifestyle, you need look no further for the habitation- installation music of your dreams.

310's achievement notwithstanding, I'm open to bids for a mint condition DJ-friendly 2x12" vinyl edition of Wagon Christ's 1993 somnolent Phat Lab Nightmare. Be ahead of the coming chill-out curve! Go on, you know you want to.

-Paul Cooper


XLR8R

With any clever Leaf-related puns at a premium after Issue 38's label profile, we'll keep this simple. New Yorkers Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan crush together hybrid sample-based tracks of bass-heavy intensity as 310. This debut album on Tony Morley's Leaf label is a contrary affair of twisted time signatures and atmospheric abstractions that alternately seduces and assaults with its ongoing barrage of rubbery rhythms and effects-laden digital doodlings. With tracks ranging from "Frosty Bardum" through "Pacific Gravity" and the superb closing track "Strangely No," this LP explores the disparate territories of jazz, funk and caustic, post-rocking electrickery while managing to be both cerebral and playfully engaging. Quality.


Alternative Press

"A brainy but groovy trip-hop travelogue."

A long distance collaboration between two old New York friends, The Dirty rope is a clever and funky mixture of trip hop, acid jazz, hardcore techno and mellow ambience. In spite of the wide range of styles, everything flows together smoothly, with a variety of sampled sounds providing links between tracks. Collaborators Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan have a way with samples and hooks, too. "Tequila Priest" opens the CD with a wispy, mournful loop from what sounds like a Billie Holiday ballad, and then sequences into the jaunty acid jazz of "NOD." "'Frosty Bardum," locks into a different and much greasier groove, with the recurring vocal loop-a righteous "boo yaa yaa-oh yeah"-giving the song a strong dose of soul. Remaining tracks alternate between uptempo and downtempo techno, taking the listener on an undefined but vivid journey through the psychic terrain of the two collaborators. Other standouts are the irresistably ominous "Shaving The Tiger," the mysterious, trance-inducing "Six Month Zazen" and the stark, minimalist drum & bass of "Firing Line." And watch out for the hidden extension of the last track, featuring East Indian vocal drones, heavy hip-hop beats and a slowly shifting assortment inscrutable vocal loops. Very nicely done-start to finish.

Bill Tilland


The Face Magazine

310° of separation How do ambient hip hop duo 310 make music when they live 3,000 miles apart?

Much has been made of the new musical possibilities opened up by the internet. But for electronic experimentalists Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan nothing can beat the old-fashioned thrill of waiting for the postman. "It's exciting to have a package arrive in the post," says Donovan. " And it means a lot more than fuckin' email." In the years since they left their high school in Washington DC, Dierker and Donovan have forged an enduring long distance musical partnership; the experimental breakbeat tracks they record as 310 - beguiling fusions of synthesized melody, plucked guitar and weird sounds - are based entirely on tapes they post to one another through the US mail. It's an aesthetic partly based on circumstances - they now live some 3,000 miles apart, Donovan in New York City and Dierker in Seattle.

But the form has also shaped the content, the pair producing an ongoing series of 'remixes' which rebound between them until something resembling a polished piece of music emerges. Their forthcoming album, The Dirty Rope, out on Leaf in November, finds Dierker's fondness for cool electronica merging with Donovan's hip hop sensibilities to produce a hard-edged semi-ambient sound somewhere between the 'illbient' doodlings of DJ Spooky and the more chilled-out Mo'Wax sessions. Donovan, now 31, currently works at Battery Studios in Manhattan, engineering sessions for the likes of modern soul hero D'Angelo. Dierker, meanwhile, is 30 and a self-confessed "internet geek".

As teenagers, the duo played together in a series of bands - including on specializing in Black Sabbath cover - before starting to experiment with rudimentary mixing equipment and immersing themselves in the visionary universe of Seventies prog-rock. It was only when they moved to opposite sides of the country, however, that their ideas really began to gel. "For a couple of years we lived across the street from each other in New York," says Donovan. "We go nothing done at all. We'd just talk about doing stuff instead of actually doing it."

Gareth Grundy


Miles Ahead Magazine

310 comprise of Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan, both originally from New York, and are a part of the growing underground of hybrid sample musicians. 'THE DIRTY RoPE' is their second lp(sic), althoug the first available in the UK. Following a couple of strange 12-inches on Leaf and the ep 'The Frosty Bardum Affair', the lp shows 310 in all their confused clarity. Booming bass-heavy beats and unusual rhythm paterns fuse with playful samples aned abstract atmospherics to create outstanding contrasts. At times hypnotising, jazzy and funky then hard and electronic, this is an album that lets you drift into your own space before bringing you back with a thump, but always one you welcome.

Clever and well executed, 'THE DIRTY RoPE' is a must of you like your electronica post-rocking.

Dave Stelfox


Grooves Magazine

Based on my previous exposure to the work of this American duo, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this album. Their two previous EPs for Leaf were worlds apart in sound - "Prague Rock" was a plunderphonic style cut-up/parody built using nothing but samples from 70s prog-rock records, while "NOD" was more of an abstract downtempo affair. On the whole, The Dirty Rope leans well towards the latter motif, featuring tracks built from fragments of ambient dub, blunted breakbeats, whirling soundscapes and perfectly placed found sounds. All of these elements are layered with expert grace and timing, and the tracks are mixed so seamlessly that the album feels like a single, cohesive work (plus an unlisted hidden track that is actually one of the disc's strongest moments). Like labelmates Faultline and Eardrum, 310 produce music that is well suited to those yearning for listening that is laidback and relaxing without being shallow and devoid of substance.

Greg Clow


State51's motion

I'd been much impressed by the recent string of 310 12"s (check the reviews listed below for a bit of background on messrs. Dierker and Donovan) and this long-awaited third album doesn't disappoint either. An hour-long mix of ambient-flavoured downtempo and sample-riddled soundscaping which sees 310's unique sound refined beautifully. Their distinctive way with looped vocal samples is all over this, particularly on the previously unreleased tracks: Tequila Priest, a delicately lovely, 2-minute long opener; the Sylvianesque Pacific Gravity (there's a vocal mix on a limited release sampler 12"); and the effortlessly catchy (it could even be a hit!) Frosty Bardum, which is almost what Fatboy Slim would do if he had any fucking talent.

Very groovy indeed. There's a further five unreleased tracks, of which Six Month Zazen is particularly masterful, before we get to the haul from the recent 12"s, of which I've written about Nod, Under the Blue Words, and Shaving the Tiger previously. Jet Pack Time appeared on Leaf's Osmosis sampler too, but it's certainly worth getting the album, as the whole thing is sequenced beautifully, with tracks drifting into one another, colliding on blind corners, sweeping across the spaces above, below, and beyond, in effect mirroring the urban chaos which both runs as an undercurrent through their work, and provides most of the vocal samples and found sounds (taped conversations, much like God Speed You Black Emporer!, subway announcements for "Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan ...", TV samples etc.).

No-one's really making albums like this at the moment, with the possible exception of GYBE! (whose sound is rather more rural, in a Blair Witch/Fargo kinda way). I guess the 'ambient/dance' phase of a few years ago has chilled out to the point of frozen stasis, with Coldcut's JDJ, Virgin's AMBT comps, and Skylab's #1/Oh! EP still standing as the triumphant representatives of "the creatively segued ambient collection with adventurous exploration of space and dynamics"(!). 310 are resurrecting this approach to a certain extent, but they're certainly pushing it forward too.

Again, only Skylab's first brilliant album is close to this. I hope 310 get some recognition for their recent string of releases, as they deserve it. And, as I know Joseph Dierker's been investigating some of the darker drum'n'bass recently, it'll be interesting to see where they go next. Oh, and 'hidden track' alert!

dan hill


Ministry Magazine

Electronic music has got a deserved rep for being boring, and you may think that only someone like the Aphex Twin can make it interesting. Until you hear THE DIRTY RoPE: the sonic adventures of this American duo whose mixture of hip hop and vibrating techno ambiences shiver with life in tracks like Shaving the Tiger and Tequila Priest. But 310 are much more than that, exhibiting a passion for 'grand design' music that matches the emotion of the turn of the millenium.

Jake Barnes


Freebase Magazine

The two native New Yorkers Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan collectively known as 310 release their debut album for the London based Leaf label.

The duo work by sending tapes back and forth, building layer upon layer of sounds and rhythms until each track is complete. The result is a collection of separate thoughts, more than one mindset stuck between four walls. 310 spread their enthusiasm across funk, hip hop and dub borders, experimenting as they go.

'NOD' is funky bass heavy while 'Frosty Bardum' is driven along by a break beat and vocal sample. The CD includes a non-vinyl bonus track in 'Me Head Is Light' - an atmospheric abstract piece that left to the imagination can depict a scene from Burrough's bug infested Algiers. The Arabic landscape continues through the ambient techno haunting mellow riches of 'Jet Pack Time' while 'Under The Blue Words' shoots in a film score direction. A dark seedy underground scene with its rumbling, echoing tunnel of apprehension is enlightened by a rising above the sewers into a contemporary spaghetti western. Three-ten's music is recorded in Widescreen Technicolor.

'Nod' and 'Jet Pack Time' were included in the recently released 'Osmosis - Leaf Sampler'. This is 310's third album to date and one that should be heaped with praise for its originality and concept.


Wax Magazine

It's somehow satisfying to see an act fulfill the promise you thought they had, and 310 come really good with this, their first album. In the proper sense of the word, this is a lovely album, a unified whole of wayward patterns, rhythms, with their method of working - relaying tapes to each other through the post, and building on each other's work - giving it a carefully random edge, and the ability to startle, confuse, and charm. The Fridge-like 'NOD' slips into the fat, warped hip hop jam of 'Frosty Bardum', and when you get to the psyche funk of 'Shaving the Tiger', and it shifts into 'Pacific Gravity', and its lighter than air [with] Ry Cooder guitar and electronica, you're swept away.

Steve Nickolls

A good albums worth of DJ tool material. Its full of dark instrumental hip hop jams edging on dark atmospheres, produced by New York's Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan. The production is top quality, as you would expect from producers who have worked with A Tribe Called Quest and Method Man. A good early evening opener.

Sound Scandal


Muzik Magazine

After the very fine NOD single, 310's third album consolidates the American duo's reputation for crafted abstractions and weirdo dubby hip hop soundscapes of the highest order. At times ice-chilled and sunset-tipped ('Pacific Gravity", 'Strangely No'), at others curiously funky ('Frosty Bardum'), this stuff worms its way into your senses and does a very slow funky wiggle. Unusually good.

Calvin Bush


Hertz-Lion

Violin strains to see the source of the shuffling steps and calling from somewhere near. Another in a long string of small moments...written down for which moments? A melody filters through the depths, watery in consistency. Much vibration, and now that of a faint stringed strumming does its thing, amidst the bongos and and brass and mumbling across a playground slide. The hummingbird wings of the beat weave their ways under and beneath - and are we yet at "beats per second" instead of "per minute"?

A crowd and Dixieland administer their greetings as their sounds are interwoven with the other shreds of a city's life. Yeah yeah yeah o yeah and so on. In rhythm, I mean - not to cast aspersions! And is "yes" truly the essence of popular music? Wow. "Trailing by three points..." and the rest of the piece winnows its way below the quotation marks. There is a palpable sense of expectation in this music - not that of an eternal "now" but that of an eternal "next." Intercepted commentary edges quietly behind the melody lingering like the changing of a radio dial, and leaves just as quietly. And up pops drumming from its nap - awakened by a dripping tap. Can I get a "Hey now!"? There is a timidity in the sounds - dipping of toes in a pool and acclimation by repetition - that does not suggest a lack of force but instead a lack of forcefulness.

A half-heard welter of words escapes to perhaps form a freeflowing stream of watery reverberations and crackling. There is further another sense - that of pulling something from unquiet spaces. Sculpting with the sweat of the clay instead of the clay itself, as it were. The beats come in again, and quite rightly, so does a heavy breathing. Labouring? It is unclear. The aural Rohrschach test of echoed words plays behind the tapestry - as is "meaning" such an underrated commodity still? "Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan..." And then - silence, as though there is something left to work with from a quiet space.

David Cotner


MUZE

310 is a sociological soundlab, originally based in Brooklyn, and later curated cross-country 'via post' by sampling mavericks Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan. After self-releasing two earlier 310 albums, Dierker left the outerboroughs for the Pacific Northwest. But he brought the sounds of the City with him. Donovan, a hip-hop engineer (The Roots, Erykah Badu, A Tribe Called Quest, Method Man), uses his studio know-how to work Dierker's loops of urban found-sound into compelling, beat-spiced collage. THE DIRTY ROPE flings open a high-story window to the world of street-sound below.

A melting-pot melange of ethnic voices and musical strains pours in --- from corner groceries; from hawkers; from bars, from ghettoblasters; from radios; from passing vehicles; from churches, temples, and shrines; from road crews; from dusty 45s spinning in ballrooms and neighboring apartments; from pedestrians and playing children. Workers daydream about tropical beaches, inner-city pressures mount, and 310 finds music in the delicate balance. THE DIRTY ROPE ranges from joyous bustles of rhythm and human noise (NOD, Frosty Bardum, Firing Line) to evocative ambient stretches (Me Head is Light, Under the Blue Words, Six Month Zazen), all sequenced to reflect the shifting emotional climate of the concrete jungle.

Gil Gershman


Stradanove

OTHER NEW EXITED IN HOUSE LEAF: THIS TIME DRAFT OF a PAIR AMERICAN, even if that that it counts in bottom is the validity of this disc, than ne it has not little. Conceiving the 11 here present traces as a continuous sonorous flow, induces the listener to enter in a comfortable state of trance: music is in fact somewhat melliflua and ipnotica, thanks to the beats and the deep and throbbing percussions of some pieces and to the not indifferent stratifications of sounds that are gone creating of trace in trace. In other cases the coordinates change like in "Frosty Bardum" (one feeling of chaos from metropoli) or in "Shaving the tiger", where a guitar and a sampled voice push the all back territories more much "dark". But the infuences do not end here: hip-hop on " Me head is light " and an light echo shoe-gazer on "Pacific gravity". To signal also the wonderful one digi-pack of the confection. Good immersion...

 
THE DIRTY RoPE
THE DIRTY RoPE