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There may be a million stories in the naked city, but William Collin Snavely - a k a Diagram of Suburban Chaos -believes they've got nothing on the weirdness that thrives on the periphery of every great metropolis. "I've grown up in suburbs my whole life, and witnessed so many strange-ass things; all these people concocting bizarre ideas in their basements - and accomplishing them," explains the San Diego denizen, who has also lived in and around Milwaukee, Seattle, and Dayton.But there are also countless dreams that go unfulfilled, and undercurrents of "despair and loneliness" that run just as strong in the land of two-car garages and manicured lawns. "Regardless of all the people who don't really think about that kind of thing, I can honestly say there's more emotion in the suburbs than a big city," he adds. These conflicting emotions form the crux of Status Negatives.The music of DOSC features ear-catching, otherworldly timbres and skittering, erratic lines of tactile, textured beats ("it's a very percussive album") set against backdrops of three- and four-note motifs fashioned from tone colors as vivid as any hues found in Georgia O'Keefe's painting, stretched into hypnotic vapor trails. The vivid imagery that seems to imbue each of the thirteen tracks is just as essential to the DOSC aesthetic as the specific sounds that suggest the pictures."They develop in parallel," says Snavely, who also loves graphic design, photography, and film. "I'll be writing a track, and as I'm writing, I'll think of the exact movement an individual or subject might be making, or how the scene should look."While many composers of instrumental electronic music baldly deny any intentional emotional or programmatic content in their work, Snavely insists the hour-long Status Negatives was crafted with both a narrative and vivid feelings in mind. "Picture some guy working on a factory assembly line, non-stop, doing the same task redundantly, over and over again," he says, setting the scene. "The story starts from there." After years of neglecting his or her dreams, the hero starts "realizing they can accomplish what they originally planned on doing," and in fact, he or she "isn't capable of dying until he or she accomplishes what they originally set out to do." "It goes through every single emotion," he observes, "but it's definitely a hopeful album."Self taught on a battery of old Omega computers, Snavely looks up to artists who don't concern themselves with following accepted trends. "People like cEVIN Key of Skinny Puppy, and Mike Patton from Faith No More, have always been my main influences," he says, "because they didn't care what other people say about their shit."He also acknowledges a creative debt to hours spent plugging away at video games. "There was a time, when I started doing music, that one of my main goals was to either do really eerie soundtracks for movies, or soundtracks for video games. Those definitely have had a profound influence on my music, because they exposed me to synthetic realities." It also made young Collin realize that playing "real" drums or guitar were unnecessary to compose moving music."I don't even know if I can classify the music I write," he concludes. "There are the artists who write music just for the love of making music, and then artists that have the intent to make people cry, expose them to a certain feeling that maybe they'll relate to, and realize something about themselves." Taking the familiar and turning it on its side, Diagram of Suburban Chaos is as fine an example of the latter camp a listener could hope to encounter.
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