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Bill Callahan

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Austin, United States (2007 – present)

Bill Callahan (born 1966), also known as Smog and (Smog), is an American born in Silver Spring, Maryland. Callahan began working in the genre of underground rock, with home-made tape-albums recorded on four track tape recorders. Later he began releasing albums with the label Drag City, to which he remains signed today.

Callahan started out as a highly experimental artist, using substandard instruments and recording equipment. His early songs often nearly lacked melodic structure and were clumsily played on poorly tuned guitars (possibly influenced by Jandek, whom Callahan admired), resulting in the dissonant sounds on his self-released cassettes and debut album Sewn to the Sky. Much of his early output was instrumental, a stark contrast to the lyrical focus of his later work. Apparently, he used lo-fi techniques not primarily because of an aesthetic preference but because he didn’t have any other possibility to make music. Once he signed a contract with Drag City, he also started to use recording studios and a greater variety of instruments for his records.

From 1993 to 2000, Callahan’s recordings grew more and more “professional” sounding, with more instruments, and a higher sound quality. In this period he recorded two albums with the influential producer Jim O’Rourke and Tortoise’s John McEntire, and collaborated with Neil Hagerty. After 2000’s Dongs of Sevotion, Callahan began moving back to a slightly simpler instrumentation and recording style, while retaining the more consistent songwriting style he had developed over the years.

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