AOKI TAKAMASA: RV8 CD/LP Raster Notion

aokiTaka

AOKI TAKAMASA: RV8  CD/LP Raster Notion

‘RV8’ stands for Rhythm Variation 8 and is the next selection of tracks of his long running collection under this moniker.  None of the individual songs have a title and are merely ‘Rhythm Variation 1’ and so forth; this does leave me a little cold, but I understand the reasoning behind this thematically speaking.

Takamasa comes from the East Asian school of IDM.  Most of what I have encountered from this stable is excellent and in many respects ‘RV8’ doesn’t change my opinions on what I have encountered so far.

Spliced beats are chopped and scattered amongst disassembled vocals and thumping bass lines, whilst glitched electronics are overlapped with twisted filters.  The end result is an altogether engaging experience with an underlying hypnosis that drags the listener in for little under an hour.

‘RV8’ is more varied than first impressions let on.  Given time to bed in, upon my second listen I picked up on key electronics hidden beneath the surface, although this does require a heck of a lot of patience.

The appeal of this release sits with the most hardcore followers of the genre and Takamasa’s latest would be lost on the more casual listener; I however, found it entertaining for the most part.

8/10

ATOM TM: HD CD Raster Notion

atomHD

ATOM TM: HD  CD Raster Notion

I am steadily loving the majority of releases from the Raster Notion label, providing me with a collection of unheard artists that for the most part, are excellent.

Opening up with ‘Pop HD’ there is initially little to tie the song musically to the title.  What we do have, are up-tempo simplistic IDM rhythms infused with sparse French vocals and stabbing synth work that tie the track to straightforward programming etiquette.  There is a straightforward intro-vocal-chorus-vocal-end to the song that works and in a fashion comes off more “Pop” than I first envisaged.

The steadily paced ‘Strom’ is up next; a precise lesson in sampling, cleansed beats and electronics that cut through as sharp as a knife, with a modernised eighties sound that hooks pads and rhythmic chops together with a decisive punch; further pop elements add variation with the Jamie Lidell vocal led ‘I Love U (Like my Drum Machine)’, reminiscent of some almighty bastardisation of Prince.

The middle section of ‘HD’ does feel somewhat misguided and misplaced however; ‘The Sound of Decay’ and ‘Empty’ lack structure and could have been layered together into something more cohesive.  This however is a minor blip in what is a more than competent attempt at experimental-yet-palatable electronics and synth that surprisingly contains an excellent cover of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ no less; and the superb ambient industrial electronic closer, ‘Ich Bin Meine Maschine’.

8.5/10

PIXEL: Mantle CD Raster Notion

multistab-coverDRAFT2

PIXEL: Mantle CD Raster Notion

“Mantle’ is the fourth release on the Raster Notion label for this artist since 2003, with a further plunge into the world of gritty bass-infused, rhythmically charged electronics (if the press sheet is to be taken as gospel).

‘Line Level’ follows its title on a musical level with minimalist distorted machine heads providing a sparse, clinical space for everything to evolve from. Unfortunately, I expected everything to kick off and the even more minimal ‘Steel tape’ was a let down somewhat as a rather pointless foray into shoulder shrugging non-reactions.

Luckily, the electronic blips of ‘Plump Bob’ give the impression of a ‘Mantle Begins’. In some respects this is correct and what is to come with the cut and paste glitch interruptions of ‘Brown Shirt’ that at least carry some momentum.

Don’t get me wrong; I frequently relish excursions into genres such as this. However, whilst I see what Pixel is trying to convey there seems to be a lack of cohesion across the entire release. I have heard many artists perform ‘music’ such as this before on the Ant-Zen label and such like and indeed these are albums I still go back to.

With ‘Mantle’ unfortunately there is nothing to latch onto, and you feel like you are on the outside looking intrusively upon an artist who is just making noises for his own self-indulgence.

6/10

VLADISLAV DELAY: Kuopia CD Raster Notion

vladislavdelay

VLADISLAV DELAY: Kuopia  CD Raster Notion

This is Delay’s second full-length album featuring a barrage of cut up and driven hypnotic beats and chopped up pads from the off with ‘Vastas’; a simple formulae that repetitively builds with layer upon layer of stuttering harmonies providing an altogether disjointed, yet effective psychosis.

Simple is more and no one is more aware of this that VD.  Whilst remaining ultimately modern to its core, ‘Kuopia’ draws influence from many; ‘Hetkonen’ has the touch of early Cabaret Voltaire electronically, melded with modern day glitch sensibilities and providing a dash of originality.

Musically, Delay makes me think of where Tim Hecker could have been now had he not gone down the art wank route earlier in his career.  What starts off as a non-entity is disguised the monster it will become. Take into account ‘Osottava’, with its simplistic electronics exploding into a monstrous wall of delayed dance and beats, just about holding themselves together with the threat that they could stumble at any given time.

Obscure yet palatable, commercial, yet as far from that realm than you can get, this second album is a wonderful collection of non-IDM warped electronics, that couldn’t be any more related to that genre if they tried and I dare say VD is not even attempting club membership; an excellent, forward-thinking release.

8.5/10

GRISCHA LICHTENBERGER: AND. IV (INERTIA) CD Raster Notion

GRISCHALICHTENBERGER

GRISCHA LICHTENBERGER: AND. IV (INERTIA)  CD Raster Notion

You could be forgiven for pulling a sour face when you see that this release comprises of 21 tracks and some of those are barely over two minutes long.  ‘Shame’ is a word I used once I realised my stupid assumptions were a mistake.  In all honesty, I haven’t heard anything from the Raster Notion label until the two releases I have been sent for review today and I think I may just have to get my backside to their website.

GL is a warping mash of clever electronics with thumping bass structures that have previously come to me via the Hecq route and ‘AND. IV’ is no less impressive.  Emphasis is based on digital sound dynamics, glitches, whirs, bleeps and fractured pads, all cleverly chopped and constructively clattered about like audio ping-pong; the results are a blissful, playful, albeit sometimes frightening ensemble of programming genius.

A heck of a lot of this album owes a lot to Autechre and so forth.  That isn’t to say this is a direct influence, but more of a relative association that should be embraced, because Lichtenberger if I dare say it, appeals to me that little bit more than they do and that’s no mean feat.

It’s going to be of no surprise that with so many tracks on one album that there is little to set them apart.  However, this is simply one of those releases that should be consumed as one impressive collective mass of electronic excellence.

9/10