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Netherworld, "Zastrugi"

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cover imageFor years, Netherworld's Alessandro Tedeschi has been curating a label that has embraced the cold, frigid minimalism of electronic music.  Now via a new sub-label imprint, Iceberg, he has changed the template a bit.  While Glacial Movements was a fitting name for the slow drifts of expansive sound, Iceberg fits this debut as a more kinetic, aggressive, and in this case, beat oriented sound.

Glacial Movements/Iceberg

Abstract and sparse electronics still heavily feature in Tedeschi's sound throughout the five lengthy pieces that make up Zastrugi.  However, while his previous works as Netherworld resulted largely in quiet tones and massive spaces, here there is more than just the inclusion of electronic rhythms.  As a whole, there is a perceptible sense of depth to the album that makes it all the more engaging;  A sense of space and almost architectural like structure to how almost tangible elements of the mix can be.

On a piece such as "Sérac," spoken word recordings are mixed with a heavy, deep thudding passage of percussion.  The second half has him mixing in a collage of harsher, noisier sounds that never push the envelope too far, but is a distinctly different, and rawer edge to it than his wind-swept previous work.  The up-front forceful sound also features heavily on "Dry Andes," where an overdriven kick drum thump is pushed loud enough in the mix to almost be painful.  The remainder may be echoing noises, clattering distortion and synth expanses, but it does not emphasize subtlety.

A piece such as "Mapsuk" might not be as harsh as some of the others here, but it also does not stay as minimalist as his previous work was.  Dense, foghorn like bursts of tone appear, then are transformed into sonar-like pings and deep, cavernous beats.  There is a lot of variety throughout, via unidentifiable and broken tones that make up the composition.  Tedeschi buries the punchy kick drum far off in the distance on "Bergie Seltzer," with an oddly created white noise approximation for a snare drum adding additional accents.  The second half is a bit noisier, but in a light and tasteful way.   The concluding "Uikka" has the addition of what sounds like fragmented female vocals with a deep 909 kick.  Something that potentially could be a sampled electric guitar  even appears in the closing minutes to close the album on a harsher and more aggressive note.

The Glacial Movements label has been rekindling the short-lived isolationist sound movement since its inception, and now it seems that Iceberg is going to revive the minimalist techno sound that followed it.  While I would have preferred a greater variation on the rhythms (the ones here stick mostly to the 4/4 kick variety), there is still more than enough diversity on Zastrugi to keep it engaging throughout its entire duration.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2015 22:01  


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