Electronic music has always been one of the most promising avenues of exploration for the modern musician and one that produces vastly different types of music. It ranges from the edgy, catchy, pop pulse of Daft Punk,to the nearly static hum of Brian Eno. Minus Kelvin fits quite comfortably in the world of electronic music by exploring some of the more outer limits of the genre, testing the listener and her patience in intriguing manners.

Minus Kelvin works heavily in the world of “sample” based music. Sample based music takes a previously performed piece of music and manipulates it electronically to create a whole new piece. In lazy hands, sampling is a quick and cheap way to create backing tracks. In the hands of a more talented musician, like Minus Kelvin, it ends up much more intriguing.

Take the track “Corkys Enlightment” as an example. Here, Minus Kelvin samples what sounds like the caterwauling of a hillbilly musician and stretches it electronically. He loops it over itself and creates dynamic harmonies and strange tension. Vowels and consonants are elongated, creating a strange, otherworldly tone out of a familiar sound.

This realm of sample based music has been well explored, but Minus Kelvin does it well. He falls into the “John Oswald” tradition of “Plunderphonics,” albeit perhaps not as extreme. Oswald was infamous for taking a piece of music, such as Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” and manipulating it in wild new ways that opened up new avenues of expression for both the song and the format.

Oswald’s work was normally quite busy and chaotic, creating a soundworld that kept the mind constantly guessing. Minus Kelvin’s music is much more restrained. A piece by Minus Kelvin is more likely to feature extended notes, sustained string samples, static development, or nearly random changes in music tone. The music is edgy, but not loud or physically hard to endure. It rarely strays into tones that are unpleasant to the average ear.

In this way, Minus Kelvin’s music has parallels with Brian Eno. Eno is the father of ambient music, a form of electronic music with heavily sustained notes and a completely static form. Its not rare for a typical Eno composition to hold no more than one or two chords. While Minus Kelvin is nowhere near that extreme, its music often comes close to that level of calming stasis.

Minus Kelvin’s music has never been offered in a CD format and has never been offered for any monetary gain. It exists on free mp3 websites and remix forums. This “free” business model is changing the business of the music world, by creating a huge supply of high quality music at no cost. Musicians like Minus Kelvin create music simply for the love of the music and offer it to an online world that’s ready for this kind of business model.

It remains to be seen, however, if the big record labels will be able to compete. Record sales continue to plummet and prices continue to fall. Record companies are trying to lure in buyers with special editions and bonus tracks, but the sales of even these types of albums are dropping. Minus Kelvin, and musicians like this, are completely changing the business of music, with consequences that run deep in the business world.