Song of the Day: Gulls – Running Times

photo by Beth Crook

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Running Times” by Gulls from the 2012 EP Running Times on Boomarm Nation.

Gulls – Running Times (MP3)

Gulls is the electronic project of Portland, Oregon, musician Jesse Munro Johnson, formerly of O Bruxo. Gulls’ music touches on a number of electronic touchstones, incorporating the serpentine bass of dub, the shifting textures of Amon Tobin, and the hiss and pop beats of the mid 2000s London scene. Now with three EPs under his belt, Johnson continues weave a variety of touchstones into his music, and often in the span of one song. “Running Times”, the title track from his second EP, opens with an ethereal burst of echoes before fading out to a center around a simple beat and a low key accordion riff. The tracks continues to peak and drop as Johnson adds and removes layers, but he consistently resists turning the song into an aggressively overstated cacophony of noise, and its this restraint that makes “Running Times” a consistently interesting listen as it twists and turns down its numerous musical paths.

After playing the XLR8R Presents showcase at Decibel Festival this past September, Johnson is back in Portland, ostensibly working on a fourth Gulls release. Keep track of his work by checking in on his website and Soundcloud. Listen to “Vetted”, an early Gulls track, below.

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