Articles By: Greg Dutcher

R_Garcia :: Resurgens (Nophi)

Influences from netlabels and the IDM Nophi releases are everywhere on Resurgens—from the Amen breaks to the intricate synthesizer detail, but nearly every song is structured like a traditional pop tune, with verses, choruses, and breakdowns.  I have always been baffled by (not to mention extremely appreciative of) netlabels. I mean, I know that everyone […]

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Robert Lippok :: Redsuperstructure (Raster-Noton)

Working more like character studies of the individual sounds therein than “songs” with structures and interrelated parts. This is a subtle distinction, much easier heard than explained—most of the tracks (pieces? it’s ambiguous) on Redsuperstructure do have “parts” or “sections,” in which musical variables such as timbre or the sounds themselves are added, taken away, […]

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Rivulets :: We’re Fucked (Important)

Normally, reviewing a record only requires an examination of music-related thoughts, but We’re Fucked was different – it forced me to consider my thoughts about myself. [Release page] Before I wrote this review, I was forced to come to a precise understanding of my feelings about We’re Fucked. This is nothing new. Every review involves […]

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Byetone :: Symeta (Raster-Noton)

Bender has gotten more rhythmically adventurous, and has also updated his palette of sounds, somehow staying faithful to that precarious notion of what is and what isn’t appropriate on R-N. [Release page] My CD collection owes its size to the university library where I had a job during college. Working in the audiovisual department wasn’t […]

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Ben UFO :: Rinse: 16 (Rinse)

Vacillating between house and bass music and occasionally blending the two. Rinse: 16 checks the boxes any self-respecting mix should – unflagging energy, varied track selection… [Release page] Ben UFO is like many a good music critic: knows quality when he hears it, but for whatever reason doesn’t make the stuff himself. The difference here […]

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Damu :: Unity (Keysound)

Each of Unity’s elements, the percussion especially, arrives, states its case politely, then leaves, forming a pleasurable impression, but not a very memorable one. It’s also easy to imagine each part of any given song tidily fitting together on a quantized grid – maybe a bit too tidily. P. M. Goerner, in his review of […]

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Mark McGuire :: Get Lost (Editions Mego)

Get Lost is a timid step back from the ambition and unsubtle nostalgia of Living With Yourself, but is not quite a regression. It still has all the familiar elements – placidity, brightness (the clearing-in-the-woods type), riff-rhythm hybrids, and good ol’ shredding. [Release page] The immensity of Mark McGuire’s back catalog is comforting if you’re […]

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The Field :: Looping State of Mind (Kompakt)

Looping State of Mind bangs with the same luminous intensity as his most popular work and avoids the stale returns that revisiting tried formulas usually brings. [Release page] Let’s consider the title. At first blush it sounds like some kind of cynical self-commentary, as if Axel Willner had run out of ideas. One could jump […]

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Josip Klobucar & Obey City :: Double review (4Lux / Astro Nautico)

Pessimism’s natural in the Internet’s climate of constant stimulation; it’s a coping mechanism, a natural response to distributors’ exhausting hucksterism. But in case you want to put that pessimism in abeyance and pick gems out of that Everest of so-so musical ephemera, pick these two. Not only will you get a kick out of their […]

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Zomby & Machinedrum :: Double review (4AD / Planet Mu)

Zomby and Machinedrum are both excellent candidates for post-dubstep status because of their expertise and reluctance to fully engage with dubstep as a genre. Both have made works that suggest broad musical knowledge and taste, and both are capable of pulling “post-dubstep” out of its confused mire. Is there really such a thing as post-dubstep? […]

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Proswell :: Konami (Merck) ~Flashback

Proswell uses so few tools to create his work – chiptunes or similar sounding synths, deceptively simple rhythms, and an assortment of moody pads, yet the work evokes so many different feelings from track to track: vague fear, brooding isolation, sunny rapture, pensive head-nodding, and fond remembrance of childhood (but not that kind.) Let’s face […]

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Iuengliss :: Blank Matter (Plastic Sound Supply)

At its best, Blank Matter is still indebted to the musical legacy that spawned it. This is the eddy IDM has been for the last decade and will be in for the foreseeable future. But fortunately for Iuengliss, being indebted is not the same as being unimaginative, nor is it an artistic death sentence. Blank […]

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Mist :: House (Editions Mego)

For fans of Emeralds and their ilk, House will surely prove an engaging, rewarding listen, earning a place in many record collections. [Listen | Purchase] Live albums are rarely essential or important to a band’s legacy. Sure, there’s Live At Leeds and the myriad Greatful Dead concert recordings, but all the average live album adds […]

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Kyle Bobby Dunn :: Ways Of Meaning (Desire Path)

As with all ambient music, this can serve as engaging music for active listening, but most will prefer it to be background music. One should not listen to Ways Of Meaning looking for any meaning at all save staid beauty. It is best absorbed passively. [Purchase page] A quick Google search for “elegiac thesaurus” should […]

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Proqxis :: Parallax Utopia (Buried In Time)

An intensely cerebral album, full of cryptic beats and arcane melodies, abruptly issuing its message in a perplexing dialect. [Listen | Purchase] Full disclosure: I judged this album by its cover. From the artwork to the unpronounceable “Proqxis” to the even less pronounceable track names, I immediately assumed I was getting into some strain of […]

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V/A :: SMM: Context (Ghostly International)

Ghostly has taken great pains to convince its fan base that this ensemble of music, and ostensibly the invitations from Ghostly themselves, are worth paying attention to. [Listen | Purchase] Ambient music has come a long way from its unobtrusive beginnings – “beginnings” defined as the point at which Brian Eno coined of the phrase […]

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Discoverer :: Build A Base (Overland Shark)

Instead of gazing fondly back upon half-remembered sounds from 20+ years ago, Build A Base takes command of these sounds, modifies them, and assembles them in a mélange that is potent, forward-looking (gasp), and peripherally linked to obsolescence only by virtue of being presented in cassette format that is itself outdated. [Listen | Purchase] It […]

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Hammock :: Longest Year EP (Hammock Music)

In all five songs, the intensity and purpose that grounded their previous work is stripped away, leaving bare sheets of sentimentality. [Listen & Purchase] One thing you could say about Hammock is that they are unwilling to compromise. This distinction can be good or bad, depending on your tolerance for the band’s sound, but it’s […]

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V/A :: One On Twoism Volume 4 (Twoism)

It all has to do with the recollection of memories, the imprecise and confusing nature of memory itself, and that longing everyone has to travel back to another place years ago made ideal by the passage of time. [Purchase CD | Digital download] It should be self-evident now that Boards of Canada are irreplaceable and […]

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Edward Rizo :: Soundscapes Volume One (Self Released)

The album itself feels like a trip through a dark, concrete maze. Occasionally, you’ll see little slivers of light, glimpses of the sky or the world outside, but most of the time you’re blindly following smooth walls of drone with your hands, changing directions when you encounter a wall every half-minute or so. With the […]

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V/A :: Habituation EP (Buried In Time)

An admirable 4-track EP of crunchy electro excursions, but it’s a shame it might get lost among the noise of all the other great releases the past few years have offered. Here’s a question: If a producer makes a track, but no one is around to hear it, does it really matter what the track […]

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Kyle Bobby Dunn :: Pour Les Octaves (Peasant Magik)

The whole tape (yes, a C30 cassette!) has the same effect as watching a perfume commercial on mute: a beautiful, alluring, and determined attempt, limited only by the medium of expression, to convey something intangible. Soon after the review was published, Kyle Bobby Dunn called me out on my comparison of his last work, Rural […]

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V/A :: Experimental Dance Breaks 36 (Plastic Sound Supply)

Most of the songs on this compilation are at least grounded in dubstep. They crawl along at the familiar 2 speeds at once, one a clunking, simian crawl and one a hyperactive twitch. Dubstep’s influence is spreading faster than anyone can keep track. It’s merging with drum and bass in one direction, getting saccharine with […]

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Einoma :: Tvenna EP (Lamadameaveclechien)

“…This EP is exciting news for Einóma fans, as the project was probably considered dead along with the great label Vertical Form, which released both their full-length albums. Tvenna is hopefully a sign of a new album from Einóma, as the two tracks (split across a 12”, naturally) are both beauties…” [Listen | Purchase] Tvenna, […]

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Hammock :: Chasing After Shadows… Living With The Ghosts Outtakes EP (Hammock Music)

“…By now, Hammock’s songwriting technique feels like a color-by numbers approach – they just have to fill in the outlines with heaps of reverb, shimmering walls of drone, slow, plodding drums, and plaintive strings. I’m sure Hammock could do this whole maximalist shoegaze permutation gig for years, cranking out cathartic opus after cathartic opus…” [Listen […]

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Kyle Bobby Dunn :: Rural Route No.2 (Self-released)

(September 2010) In a genre where stylistic differences are more or less subjective, mistaking one artist’s work for another is a given, and would probably be more common if ID3 tags didn’t exist. Aside from those seminal artists that actually managed to forge a signature sound (again, a dubious designation) in ambient, most others should […]

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Oneohtrix Point Never :: Returnal (Editions Mego)

(June 2010) Daniel Lopatin is a purveyor of sorts. For a few years now, he has been providing nostalgic synthesizer music for thirsty ears in the wake of Boards of Canada’s absence. His music is retrofuturistic – it is the sound that music makers of the past would have used to imagine a future dominated […]

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Ikonika :: Contact, Love, Want, Have (Hyperdub)

Prophets are often misunderstood in their time because their message is difficult or impossible to interpret. Their listeners lack the full story, all the information needed to contextualize the message and understand its implications. It’s only after the fact that the prophecy starts to make sense. I don’t want to be delusional here, but it […]

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Hammock :: Chasing After Shadows… Living With The Ghosts (Hammock Music)

(May 2010) At this point in Hammock’s career, I guess you could say they’ve accomplished pretty much everything they needed to. Majestic, sweeping songs that conjure images of lost desert wanderers? Check. Making Slowdive sound uptempo? Check. Successfully writing songs perfectly suited to waking up in slow motion? Check. Making an ambient album that captures […]

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