Colfax is the alter-ego of San Francisco based multi-instrumentalist and electronic music composer Daniel Berkman.
The Colfax sound is a product of more than just an obsession for old analog synthesizers, decaying reel to reel tapes of heretical significance, untouched for decades, or unearthing styles and musical sentiments long forgotten. Colfax is interested in the soul embedded in the tape, the mystery in the circuitry, the ghost in the machine.
Among the key elements in Colfax’s work is his use of the legendary Roland Jupiter 8 and the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS which were played by hand on this album which give it a raw and human feel. His father used these instruments in the 80’s on sessions and so there is a deep connection to their sounds and their origin.
Another key element is his use of samples! Yes, the art of sampling to make electronic music sound really cool and organic! On Colfax they seem more peculiar than “cool”. Most of the samples are unedited, in their original state. Colfax revels in the tape flutter, basking in the hiss. The presence of tape degradation is everywhere. It’s like audio rust.
In 2000, Berkman compiled from dozens of his childhood cassette tapes, a track which he called “The Sound of Beauty” which consisted of just the noisy spaces between the songs and their texturally percussive transitions. Because these snippets weren’t songs within themselves and even though they had no context, they seemed to be entities, to be conveying something, a feeling, and they spurred his already sentimental tendencies.
Berkman also found a wealth of material from a box of old reel to reel tapes that also belonged to his father. These tapes were the missing link and Colfax took it’s oddly nostalgic shape.
Not unlike Boards Of Canada or Freescha, Colfax transports us sonically to a time and place that exists deep within in our psychological memory, hiding like a box of forgotten reel to reels, safe from the din of the world yet vulnerable to it’s elements.