Various Artists: Integers and Quotients
Released: 14 May 2021
Although it may at first seem risky to buy a CD featuring weird music by nine obscure musicians, consumers may rest assured that the DiN Records Tone Science sub-label series in question is expertly curated with your listening interests in mind. Across five volumes (thus far) it has forged a distinct identity. Integers and Quotients (62:11) presents examples of Electronic Music made using instruments with an open-ended programability. Brimming with mischief and menace, tenderness and abstraction, drama and dreams, the listener comes close enough to this music to feel its electric charge.
Presenting another nine musicians who display capabilities just beyond that of the mainstream, Integers and Quotients opens with Incantation by Helene Vogelsinger. As her branching sequencer structures cycle in clockwork precision, our thoughts extend to a higher plane… Next, Raffael Seyfried‘s Iterations is marked by a sense of longing – with recurring reverberant piano notes resolving mysteriously among arpeggio stepped synth tones… Stephan Whitlan builds his Waving and Drowning from an intricately imagined starkness, which expends its strength and intensity in fascinating cosmic turbulence… Johnny Woods navigates the dexterous rhythms and lush backdrops of his Cuckoo with an unhurried ease. Tumbling together, the patterns convey a live-wire unity… The Polypores piece Clocks, Unravelling cascades through broken chords in skipping pulse time and oscillating machine timbre. The result is as psychologically probing as it is aesthetically pleasing… Lisa Bella Donna‘s de-centering Electronic Study #26 questions the listener. An atonal collage of electronic textures, we must find our own meaning – while negotiating an abstract aural plane… Integers and Quotients climaxes in the sonic heft of Delusion by Matths. Pushing the beat into new terrain, this work rises into frenzied fantasy, before collapsing into an abyss of its own making… and even the author of this review (Chuck van Zyl) has a fervid tale to tell; in The Zanti Misfits strobing power electronics crescendo, then settle into a subtle Berlin-School sequencer dance – resounding in a dreamy and reflective glow… To conclude the experience, Philippe Petit reveals a cold charisma with Delicate Elementum, his endeavor into the materiality of sound. A startling balance between freedom and structure, gorgeous torrents of charged emanations build and recede, revealing a quietly radical passion and purpose of expression… which reminds us that all of this music belongs as much to the musician as it does to their instrument.
The ambition of the Tone Science series remains exciting – its initial spark still felt deeply throughout the fifth volume Integers and Quotients. This music asks us to imagine beyond the limitations of conventional thinking, and our present dark day, to catch a glimpse of an enchanted cosmos and all that it has to offer – because we need not feel trapped in the present, when we can hear such clear, wonderful sounds coming from the future.