A difference engine is a historical, now obsolete, mechanical special-purpose computer designed to tabulate polynomial functions. Since logarithmic and trigonometric functions can be approximated by polynomials, such a machine is more general than it appears at first. The first of these devices was conceived in 1786 by J. H. Mueller. It was never built. Difference engines were forgotten and then rediscovered in 1822 by Charles Babbage. This machine used the decimal numbers system and was powered by cranking a handle.
the early 90s providence, rhode island band difference engine seems to be just as obscure these days. releasing a few 7 inches and two CDs on the long gone La-Di-Da and Bedazzled labels, its been quite a challenge to find mention of their existence on ye ole intraweb. nowadays, providence is known as the home of the crazy noize scene of load records. back then, it was known more for the indie-college-rock of bands like small factory. difference engine were neither of these, but actually they were kind of inbetween, ahead of their time maybe? their sound was thourghly drenched in what can best be classified as dreampop or shoegazer or noisepop or blisspop or psychpop. you know the drill, slowdive, mbv, etc. except much more american; so let's say more like boston's drop nineteens.
now here we are, ten years+ later and I discover today that people from difference engine are still making music but as a new band: fern knight. and once again, they are out of place with their time- fern knight are "...folk-noir with a high spook factor from the woods of providence...infinitely lonely tissue paper singing...with the devil of the blues in her throat...a mournful cello saws its way through the ears directly into one's heart." This evocative, moody atmospheric pop falls in line with great artists such as Nick Drake, Cat Power, Barbara Manning, Low, Red House Painters, Julie Cruise and even Sigur Ros. (according to their label) You can buy it here. And you can also listen to a couple of more mp3s at their own website, too.
Difference Engine - 5 Listens
Difference Engine - And Never Pull
Fern Knight - If I Could Write a Book About You