I don’t normally do batch reviews. But I have been receiving quite a few submissions from Tympanik Audio recently, and the next three discs in my review queue cover an interesting spectrum of styles that fall under the “glitch” category to some degree, so I thought I’d take a look at them, side by side by side. The discs in question are Dirk Geiger’s Autumn Fields, Access to Arasaka’s void(); and Undermathic’s 10:10 pm.
Autumn Fields is the least successful of the three for me. It opens strong, with cracks of rolling thunder and melodic piano from guest artist Connum on the track “Gewitterregen,” but then starts to corrode under a batch of noise and overwhelming field recordings that too often feel directionless. The problem for me comes down to a lack of subtlety in these elements and how they’re used. It felt like a barrier keeping me from connecting to the work, so I just kept skipping tracks. I stuck around for most of “Minus 10,” where Geiger lets his IDM sensibilities outweigh his penchant for noisy glitch. But overall this is largely a miss.
Lest it seem as though I just don’t enjoy glitch and/or noise (and many of my past reviews would belie the idea anyway), I found Access to Arasaka’s void(); much more accessible, if occasionally a little too chaotic. Quick-stitched sound samples whisk by in rhythmic flurries, beats snapping together in fractions of a second. On this one, though, it’s the opener, “*strtok(),” that almost loses me by feeling close to wayward if not downright random–but the experience is saved as soon as the followup, “kill_recorder=$c1,” kicks in to show Access to Arasaka’s sense of high-speed beatcrafting. void(); is about a 60-40 good/meh mix for me. The pieces that feel more thoughtfully put together, tracks with a strong identity like “inc(tumbler),” “Switch(Pcap_Datalink)” and “Syslog_Ident,” hold my attention more than some of the other cuts here which simply seem to lose their way in the electro-muddle of glitch. (“Array” comes to mind.) Overall, though, I find more to like the more I listen to void();. Access to Arakasa’s style is growing on me.
And then there is Undermathic’s 10:10 pm, which charges out of the gates in a blended burst of post-rock melody, IDM beats and a decidedly narrative voice. Maciej Paszkiewicz instantly finds his sure footing in this middle ground and shows that he knows how to use his position to advantage. 10:10 pm is a solidly crafted piece of work, packed with a multitude of elements that do nothing but add to the ride, never impeding the flow or taking the listener out of the moment. I like the gear-switching intensity of “Searcher,” shifting perfectly between pounding drum-driven rhythms and a glistening, floating break; the calm story that unfolds in the closer, “Sea”; and “I Remember,” the highlight track for me, which manages to exhibit a robotic angularity and a romantic smoothness at the same time. 10:10 pm is a smooth ride on easy beats and a well-planned depth of sound. It’s a straight-through listen that will give your speakers a workout because you’ll want to turn this one up. Make space on your iPod. 10:10 pm is bound to be a keeper.
Available from Tympanik Audio.