In places, Aleksandr is industrial. In others, bare-bones minimal. In others, it’s a variant of techno stripped of auspice and distilled to grit and beat. Throughout, Ryan Huber keeps his voice down, relying on aural colors and moody details to punch straight into the listener’s core. I find it interesting that Huber can churn out huge, face-blistering industrial guitar noise in his guise as Olekranon, but is equally effective–in a wholly different way–on this far, far end of the spectrum. Where the one identity is assaultive, this one is as insidious as a toxin. The title track kicks it off with a rhythmic edge and tightly wound kinetic potential, but Huber keeps a hand on the reins. From there, however, we slip down into this dark pit where the small sounds have their way. “Chronology of Events” and “False Intuition” are almost purely texture set in motion. On “Chronology…,” chords play out slowly and in the distance, half-hidden behind a curtain of static and tiny, insistent tapping sounds. Its dialed-back dynamic pays off in an up-close listen. “False Intuition” is a study in beat potency. Over what may be field recordings of night sounds, Huber folds in a consistent and nearly unwavering line of micro-beats. He then finds spots in which to shift their tone. It’s the only real change in the piece, this nudging of a single element, but each shift realigns our attention to it. “Hidden Word” seems to do little more than whisper one note in your ear for eight minutes, but something in it, these barely perceptible changes, manage to urge a gut-level response regardless. Tucked in amongst all this near-dark sluggishness comes “Emerge, ” a surprising eruption of wayward EDM tropes. Huber shoves them, like string-bent sounds, over toward dissonance, giving it an edge that is both a bit eerie and oddly reminiscent of a siren.
Huber gives his listener a shadowy space in which to sit and get all introspective, but he also feeds them beats and pulses. The quieter side of things dominates Aleksandr, but both sides of the equation hold up. Another deep-dive-worthy outing from Ryan Huber.
Available from Bandcamp.