telling the scene kids what to listen to since 2001.

Monday, December 26, 2005

ryoji ikeda

I think as you get older, the entrenched lines of taste you had as a teenager get gradually eroded away until you're pretty much capable of finding the good in everything. I can remember a time when I would have dismissed any electronic music (dance, electronica, IDM, anything) as "fag music". Clearly I thought that only floppy-haired white boys with a Fender Tele their mother bought them could make valid, life-changing music. We were all like that once.

My enjoyment of truly minimal electronic music began when someone recommended Jan Jelinek's loop-finding-jazz-records to me. I rapidly became obsessed with it's seemingly effortless sea of gentle clicks and whirrs. Though by nature repetative, Jan keeps the listener's interest by subtly altering his loops, slowly and carefully, introducing more melodic elements, adding a slight phase to one beat, or maybe fading a synth line in over four or five minutes.

This highly-anticipated (so I'm told) new record by New York via Japan's Ryoji Ikeda is of a similar breed to Jan's earlier work. Ikeda's modus operandi with Dataplex is the exploration of the sound itself - the fragments of noise from which a track is contructed. As such, glitchy beats and barely-there melodic elements comprise the whole of this 55 minute piece.

I say 'beats', but what I really mean is a loose collection of sounds, sequenced in an order that provide some sort of semblence of structure. What Ikeda is very good at is using the whole frequency range to entertain your ears; very high pitched clicks, slight warbles, and incredibly deep bass parts make your speakers really work for it. Though a "concept" piece in nature, there is some of the nature of pop in Ikeda's work - catchy melodies (though unconventional in execution), syncopated beat workouts, and a series of innovative structures which he effortlessly glides between make this a memorable listen.

Though I'd normally hesistate to recommended something as pretentious as this (or at least, that appears to be this pretentious, if you get what I mean), this is actually a fine record - minimal electronica, exploring contemporary electronic music, but not doing it's best to turn the listener away; a refreshing change.


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