Adam Stroupe left Atlanta in the summer of 2007 to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. When he moved, the abrasive and confrontational synth-punk dirges of his band S.I.D.S. were put in a holding pattern, resurfacing only for occasional holiday shows or Internet collaborations. But when Stroupe comes home for the holidays this year, he's returning to celebrate a new 7-inch release with Death Domain, a solo project that's served as his main musical outlet since he landed in Baltimore. "When I moved here I didn't know anyone who had similar interests as me, so I started doing my own thing," Stroupe says.
Although he's been recording Death Domain ideas and rough demos since his undergrad days at UGA during the mid-2000s, the project has grown symbiotically with his scientific studies. Even the name Death Domain refers to a cellular process by which contaminated cells in the body are programmed to commit suicide. This cold, systematic motif is underscored by the balance of gloomy, clinical aesthetics in his low vocal droll and mechanical drum machine beats of "Program Cell Death."
Other songs, such as "Toxoplasma Gondii" and "Watching From My Window" on the Death Domain debut (released by S.I.D.S. and Deerhunter bassist Josh Fauver's Army of Bad Luck) fill the sonic gap between industrial noise and electronic pop music. A lo-fi haze surrounds every analog beat, blurp and demanding lyric with a cold, stripped-down ambivalence that'd sound campy if it weren't so mesmerizing.
A second 7-inch via the San Francisco label Dark Entries will follow the ABL single. Stroupe warns that what you hear is what you get, and his live shows are boring when compared to S.I.D.S.' chaotic performances, which often spilled into the audience. But it's all part of the musical process. "S.I.D.S. was a punk band. This is not punk and that's kind of the point," he says. "It's awkward dance music; it has a beat but you're supposed to feel uncomfortable about dancing to it."