Two superior releases from new label Ge-Stell. Superior to what? you ask. Pretty much everything else that's contemporary, with very few exceptions...I imagine. Forgive me becuase I haven't heard everything. I don't want to hear everything. Can you imagine what kind of hell that would be? How John Peel did it I don't know. The advantage, the only one I can think of, in having to endure all that new music would be the resulting ability to gauge, in relative terms, what stands out, I suppose. To be able to say 'This is superior' with authority...forgetting, for a moment, that little spanner in the works called 'subjectivity'.
Thank Charlie Parker I don't have to plough through all the new electronic music in order to ascertain what's best. I literally don't, but also don't need to when listening to Dalglish's Dorcha Aigeann and Brandon Nickell's Skyline. No-one else, to my knowledge (that again) sounds like Chris Douglas (Dalglish), in a league of his own...in a lonely place, perhaps, but that is our gain. The fibrous nature of these mechanised textures alienates and entangles...each piece a structure of microscopic elements...particles colliding, detonating yet cemented within the confines of their allotted time by a master's hand. The gathering intensity of Onair is hair-raising...the spatial organisation of Uisge a marvel to behold...all six tracks constitute a creaking, groaning, sparkling sonic kaleidoscope. Outstanding.
Nickell's Skyline may be easier to comprehend in it's use of beats in regular time, but that in no way diminishes it's effect. Right from Bayes a marker is laid, a crisp, weighty rhythm drives it, but it's what sits on top that matters, the persistent upper registers of organ-like droning, sustained alongside many other components which constantly push and pull the piece. Norvig Trajectory's predominant mood is darkened by a deep, wavering drone, but Nickell knows how to create contrasts that work and does so here by using the bare bones of percussive rhythm. Stripping away common elements of Techno/Electro/Ambient (oh those inadequate tags!) to rebuild something far greater, Nickell announces a braver, newer world, where the things that once were exist as echoes in this vision. Perhaps even serial music, on the longest track, Tesselate, comes into play, the seemingly self-generating line of motion played against a whip-cracking beat.