RYOJI IKEDA: Supercodex CD Raster Notion

ryojiikeda

RYOJI IKEDA: Supercodex  CD Raster Notion

I thoroughly appreciate concept albums, whether that is because they sound great or constructed well, or even if they’re just plain bad but the idea holds weight; Ikeda falls into the latter collective.

What we have are 20 tracks of data patterns, blips and beats that if were melded into actual songs would most likely sound like some of the most amazing mash up of Rhythmic Noise/IDM/Electronica/Industrial you could get your hands on.  Ikeda though, doesn’t care for this however and neither does his label apparently.

I could witter on all day about superposition, installations and meta-constructed quantum information just like his press release; and whilst I appreciate the fact he really thought about all this whilst (I use the term loosely) ‘composing’ this album, it doesn’t detract from the fact that in reality it’s complete bollocks.

4/10

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SENKING: Capsize Recovery CD Raster Notion

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SENKING: Capsize Recovery  CD Raster Notion

On the whole I am really impressed by a lot of the releases on Raster Notion.  For me they are an alternative listening post for a lot of underground electronics and artists that I have previously not heard of.

‘Capsize Recovery’, introduces me to the world of Senking and his electronically dark soundtrack vision of the world.  On the whole, there’s a lot to like with a few drawbacks.  Concentrating mainly on the squelching sub-bass and low-end trance synth patterns, that give the occasional nod to dub-step, it plods along at a steadily pleasant pace; but where ‘Capsize Recovery’ falls short is with the rhythm sections that feel as though they have been programmed in as an afterthought, with little power or presence.

The other downside to this album is that there is little similarity between the songs.  Exploration into other sounds, other than the bass lines has been all but omitted, with the outcome feeling somewhat empty, with little to latch onto past the halfway point.  The upshot then is an album that could have offered so much more than what has been produced; focussing more of his efforts on creating more songs like the engaging ‘Tiefenstop’ would have been a start (and one which I would suggest you start with too should you give this a listen).

 7/10

FRANK BRETSCHENEIDER: Super.Trigger CD Raster Notion

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FRANK BRETSCHENEIDER: Super.Trigger  CD Raster Notion

After numerous successful underground releases, Frank Bretschneider returns with his latest collection of percussive frequency rhythms in the form of ‘Super.Trigger’.

‘Big.Hopes’ opens up in a tribal infused vein, with electronics sub-texts fluttering beneath the surface.  Altogether more complete however, is the glitch infused ‘Flicker.Funk’ with minimalist electronic stabs cutting ever so slightly into the hypnotic patterns that seamlessly fold over each other; altogether clinical, but engaging in it’s simplicity.

As things step up the pace somewhat, Bretschneider reminds me somewhat of the early works of Funckarma with this latest output, capitalising on the glory days of older IDM before every man and his dog sat down in front of a laptop professing to be the second coming of Aphex Twin.

‘Super.Trigger’, does follow a linear route throughout its 9 tracks with only subtle differences between each song as to separate them from one another.  With the focus squarely placed on beats there are just minor interruptions obscurely placed within each song to assist them in standing out in their own right.  The end result is a strong album that whilst avoiding anything too emotional, is engaging and involving from start to finish.

8.5/10

AOKI TAKAMASA: RV8 CD/LP Raster Notion

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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

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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

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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

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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