Dino Spiluttini/Nils Quak: Modular Anxiety

quak_modularA split release originally issued on limited edition vinyl, Modular Anxiety offers two distinct takes on experimental drone music. First up is Dino Spiluttini, whose pieces range from jaggedly angular, clattering constructs and rich, distorted bass to surprisingly smooth drones–mind you, the former more than the latter. On tracks like “Anxiety” and “Crawling,” the sound is aggressive and big, elements constantly interrupting each other in a tug of war for your attention. There’s a semblance of a beat at play. “Downer” and “Wallow Wallow” take the quiet side, nudging pads along slowly. On “Wallow Wallow,” Spiluttini adds some nice rough textures to the sound for added interest. “Weak Love” is a gentle piece of work built on a hissing underlay as a slightly croaking, unsteady melody wobbles out. Quak’s pieces, by comparison, are less dynamic, more droning, and bleaker overall. Things move in slow motion, restatement upon restatement with an almost agonizing patience. “Octagonal Journey” is more like his partner’s work, sounds jumping back and forth in quirkily mathematical manners. Quak loses me completely on “Duet for Modular Brass”; the weirdness is just too deep for my tastes.

You can look at the two sides of Modular Anxiety as being a study in contrast and complement, but for me Spiluttini’s half is the more engaging of the two. Quak’s work feels more like someone figuring out what the knobs do, whereas Spillutini seems more invested in things compositionally. Neither part of this holds a lot of allure for me, personally, but those with a taste for experimental work should find something here.

Available from Umor Rex.

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