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Richard Devine, "Aleamapper" & Otto von Schirach, "Escalo Frio"

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"Difficult" is a loaded word when used in electronic music reviews. In one context, it can be taken to mean the record is so far ahead of everything else out there that it needs numerous intense listening sessions to be understood and appreciated. On the other hand, it could simply mean that the record is an unfocussed, unlistenable and pretentious piece of crap. So when I tag these two new releases from Miami's Schematic label as being "difficult", which end of the spectrum am I referring to? Well, somewhere in between, but at least a little bit closer to the former than the latter.

On "Aleamapper", Atlanta's Richard Devine almost entirely abandons the crunchy beat structures of his previous releases and offers a set of soundworks that could loosely be referred to as "ambient" for lack of a better classification. There are some really inspired moments amongst the 16 tracks on the disc, but unfortunately the more interesting and vital bits are often cut short (one of the album's best tracks, "Mtr Method", doesn't even hit the two minute mark), while the more esoteric experiments are more often than not allowed to wander aimlessly. Despite these flaws, "Aleamapper" exhibits strong evidence of an artist who is committed to taking his music into new directions, so with a bit of fine tuning, I suspect that Devine's future work in this field of abstract sound could be phenomenal.





As for Mr. von Schirach, his "Escalo Frio" platter feels like a cross between Matmos (who appear as guests on a track) and Prefuse73: quirky, organic sounding IDM with a hint of fractured hip-hop. [Jon adds: but kind of feels like a stoner kid obsessed with video games, Saturday morning cartoons and Count Chocula.] Unfortunately, the MCs he chose to provide vocals to be processed don't offer much in the way of exciting or insightful rhymes, but since they only appear in a comprehensible form on a couple of tracks it's not too distracting. Otherwise the album is actually a lot of fun, with sounds and ideas of all sorts ping-ponging back and forth, and even a goofy fake commercial at the halfway point that's good for a chuckle.



Last Updated on Friday, 01 June 2012 20:31  


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