The general sonic palette is definitely softer than LP5 and alot closer to the feel of Chiastic Slide, which is definitely a good thing. The rhythms are much quicker and more hectic, even if the actual tempo of most of the tracks is very slow. That spinning-bottle noise they used on “Krib” from Cichlisuite seems to be a regular part of their vocabulary now.
“Vi Scose Poise” opens with what sounds like Sonata #1 for glass bottle and spinning cap, which gradually coalesces into a rythm of paradiddles that skip all over the place between speakers. I have to wonder how many tracks it took just to record the backing track. The melody enters, sounding like something off Incunabula, even though I’m reminded more of “Pir” from Ep7.“Cfern” chugs along in 6/8 and even swings a bit, throwing in some wooden mallet instruments and Hammond organ. “Pen Expers” took me off guard, opening with what sounds like a malfunctioning Roland Dr. Drum (gold star if you can remember those!), but once the chords start sparking in from the edges of the speakers, they blend in perfectly with the cheesy snare, and you realize that this is the only way it could have worked. Then you realize just how much this track POUNDS. Once it settles in, it reminds me alot of “Rae,” except faster. The most dramatic piece on here and so far, my favorite.
“Sim Gishel” has the most straightforward rythm of any track on here. It sounds alot like “Tilapia,” except with a drone in the background that sounds like a chorale of generators. There’s harmony in there, alot like there was in “Zeiss Whatsamoever,” you just have to strain to catch it. “Parhelic Triangle” is not the Steve Reich remix floating around on Napster, but whoever uploaded that had an uncanny sense of humor. The real track also relies heavily on tolling bells, but it’s in 7/4 (I think) and sounds more like wind chimes blowing around in some abandoned factory.
“Bine” reminds me very much of “Vletrmx21" in mood. It’s got the somber chords that sound like an amplified string section playing Barber’s Adagio, except here, they cut in and out like a faulty radio. There’s a ridiculously fast and chaotic beat underpinning the whole track, but it actually generates more of a feeling of stasis. Spinning fast sitting still. Nice job, guys. “Eidetic Casen” picks up where “Arch Carrier” left off in mood, with a steady backbeat and lots of descending chromatics. Another really dramatic track. “Uviol” is absolutely beautiful. A bunch of tones just hang in the air like icicles while a loping beat that seems to ebb and flow pulls things along nicely. In terms of general feel, it seems to link back to “Vi Scose Poise.”
“Lentic Catachresis” plays a two-chord progression while chopped-up vocals struggle for coherency over a beat that alternately speeds up and slows down. I get the impression of a machine desperately struggling to get words out. The beats start to degenerate into chaos as the chords ricochet along, the track speeds up to a thorny climax, and then it just stops, and you’re left with the sound of the cd player winding down and silence, in my case stunned silence. After a few minutes, you remember to start breathing again.
There’s not a weak track on here. What I see now is that Ep7 and the second Peel Session , inconsistent as they were, were just warm-ups for this. All the disjointed ideas from those eps are tied up here in an organized, coherent form. As weird and difficult as this album SHOULD be, it’s not. This is serious (please forgive me) avant-garde stuff, but there’s nothing self-indulgent or sterile about it. To pull something like this off right…well, it’s one hell of a feat. This isn’t electronica or armchair techno or IDM. This is the music of empty rooms, the same type of feeling I get from listening to John Cage’s prepared piano music.
One more thing while I eat bandwidth. This record SOUNDS great. Every sound is meticulously placed in the mix. When I first listened to “Vi Scose Poise,” I thought my air-conditioner was malfunctioning, but it’s actually a drone placed somehow in the mix that it sounds as if it’s coming from another room. In terms of engineering alone, this record seriously raises the bar. It sounds, well…tactile.
This is a thorny record, but it’s worth hearing. It’s certainly not something I want to listen to every day, but sometimes, it’s something I need to listen to.