Jack Hertz’s 100th release (yes, you read that correctly, and I am several more releases behind in his catalog) is Nataraja. Trippy in spots and fairly unobtrusive, it can be a cool little coast with many ear-catching moments. It has taken me a little while to warm up to it, I still find myself giving much of it a polite shrug. Hertz plays with chime-like tones on several of the tracks here, and they work in varying degrees. I like the way they clatter and bump behind the charming analog lope of “Clipping Memories.” This track features a lot of small touches, electronic swoops and hiccups that flit across your headspace chased by a jingle of bells, all set against a dream-soft wash. I think Hertz hits his stride when he slows everything down. “Ozone Rising” taps my old-school pleasure centers with its star-twinkle tones and spacey pads. Hertz runs his layers deep here, and the sound gets very big for it yet stays quite intimate. It’s a shhh moment in the album. “Gong Circle” moves with liquid ease, pulling long pads and a rich weave of rhythmic elements. I like its gentle energy—it’s meditative but feels dynamic. The slow, rocking sway of “Troubling Questions” is one of the catchiest grooves on the album. Hertz lends it a softly applied Middle Eastern touch with sitar-like tones, a percussive snap like a tabla, and a serpentine cadence. Again, the chimes sneak their way in here as a background element.
I cannot quite tell you what leaves me somewhat iffy about Nataraja. I’ve listened to it a lot, and not begrudgingly so. I pop it on, it’s there sharing my space, and when it’s over my thought is, I guess I could listen to it again. In a catalog as deep as Hertz’s, it doesn’t really stand out, but it certainly deserves at least a curiosity listen. This will shuffle into the mix well, and doesn’t do any harm to Hertz’s reputation as a prolific producer of good electronic music.
Available from Aural Films.