For the most part the rave onslaught of Aphex built up and out from the front stacks, in densely packed clouds of bass with numerous changes of pace and turnabouts. All the while an insidious range of DSP flutterings, whooshes, cackles on the edge of hearing, and countless other aural smoke and mirror tricks played out behind. Occasionally a crisp sound would boom out from the back of the room, causing scores of people to spin round and look out for devilry going on behind their backs.And unlike Aphex Twin, Florian Hecker makes legitimately terrifying music (see Sun Pandaemonium, which sounds really new.) I haven't really been excited about anything with afx on it since the Flow Coma remix, so maybe this bodes well.
On first listen, narrativestructurez may sound more like a downtempo album than an idm album. piekoz uses real instruments, human voices, and digital tweaking to create dark, smoky tracks about the speed of the human heartbeat. Really, it is a downtempo album, but there's more going on here, a restlessness that expresses itself as constantly evolving sound and melody. Every track, even the weaker ones (and the album does lose some intensity in the second half) keeps reaching to break out of cliche towards actual feeling. Nothing is static here, everything is morphing, moving in and out, varying.
The real achievement of this album is that it doesn't come out sounding prog. Somehow piekoz manages to have his cake and eat it too, twisting his sounds as much as any idm purist without destroying the delicate noirish atmosphere he starts out with. Calling something downtempo isn't a slam, necessarily, but if idm fans don't claim this album for their own, they'll be missing a beautiful example of sonic experimentation as a vehicle for emotional expression.
The obvious example of a group that's dared to evoke an environment that isn't industrial or mechanical is Boards of Canada. narrativestructurez is more subtle, though, and doesn't go for the cheap insights of psychedelia. It's just as good at putting a dizzying array of sounds into a coherent whole, but the song structures are freer (and I'm a total sucker for multipart songs). narrativestructurez hardly ever sounds self-indulgent, though, it just sounds, well, self-contained, self-defining, sui generis, new not for the sake of being new but because there's something new to express here, and I know it's a lot to lay on an album but that alone is almost enough to justify the existence of a genre focused on new sound.
piekoz's site is here, and you can buy it and listen to sound samples here
update: it's now, I dunno, six months since I wrote the above. I'm enjoying the album at least as much now as I did then. It's fucking great.
Here's a simple home experiment to see if you'll like it: Run your television through a delay effect and put on the Classic Movie Channel while simultaneously playing Brian Eno's "Apollo" on one CD player, Massive Attack vs Mad Professor's "No Protection" on another, and Funki Porcini's "Love, Pussycats, & Carwrecks" on a third. Sporadically run around the room pausing a CD player every now and again.I've actually always wanted to have a party where the soundtrack was provided by dozens of cheap tape players playing on autoreverse, each tape player playing something different - jazz, rock, ambient, street noise, white noise...I'd need more likeminded art-wank friends to do that though.
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