During my initial listens to Geosynchron, the new release from Access to Arasaka, I began to get the impression that what I experiencing was something like a glitch “concept” album. You remember concept albums, right? Big, proggy things usually spread over two discs, telling a story through music and lyrics? Well, cut it down to one disc, drop 99% of the lyrics and what you’re left with is the underlying story, told in sound. Imagine my surprise when I wandered over to the Tympanik Audio site and read this: “In the final chapter of his quasi-trilogy, Access To Arasaka’s Geosynchron offers a full conclusion to what began earlier this year with the Orbitus and Aleph EPs.” Although I haven’t heard either of the previous chapters, I still found myself caught up in AtA’s dark narrative. Geosynchron shouldn’t be confused with your standard glitch disc, one that’s focused simply on high-RPM beats and flashy edits. This is about using noise to create atmosphere. The beats and the masterful glitchwork are still there, but they exist in service to something larger, which makes it stand out. “Iixion” finds the artist swirling together chaotic mashes of sound, a jagged beat pulsing uncertainly through the tangle. Listen to “Naos,” where the two sides of the working equation combine fantastically. Grinding and crunching stretches of noise fight over a slowly metered-out melody like a crawling pan across a darkened cityscape, interrupted by flashes of static. And then into this mix comes Jamie Blacker’s opiated, mournful vocals in “Lysithea.” A sense of black surrender runs through this track, dirge-like passages punctuating Blacker asking, “Are you ready to be alone?” (My ears also pick up a very slight echo from “Welcome to the Machine” at times.) Geosynchron stands out from typical glitch discs for the potent mass of emotion at work. This is a smart disc, not in an IDM way, but structurally and tonally. AtA knows what he’d doing, he knows how his story ends, and he delivers it in pure feel. There’s not a lot of this type of music I can sit through–Geosynchron is a superb exception, standing out in a field marked by commonality.
Available from Tympanik Audio.