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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Carapace - "Moments in Time"

Artist: The Carapace
Album: Moments in Time
Year: 2012
Label: Signifer / Force of Nature
Genre: IDM, Ambient, Electronica
Website: www.signifieronline.com 
this album on discogs: here



The Carapace is the new IDM-ish side project of rhythmic noise act Scrap.edx. He released the free teaser EP "Interpretations In Time" in 2011 on Force of Nature Productions, which included a few of the tracks here and numerous remixes. Now, the full length is brought to you as a joint effort from Signifier and Force of Nature. Unfortunately, this release appears to be digital only.

Good stuff:
+ This is a really good modern IDM/ambient release. There were hints of IDM on the most recent Scrap.edx record, but in general this resides in a completely different spectrum. The tracks here are highly spacious cuts of electronica with a focus on atmosphere and mood. There are sparse, yet vivid & deep ambient sections; complex, glitchy beats; and facile, catchy melodies. The tracks generally have a steady, non-intrusive flow to them as they slowly build and evolve over their duration - they have many parts while remaining coherent and focusing on a single mood. "Moments in Time" is a very even blend of IDM and ambient - it's chill enough to work as tranquil background music, yet sophisticated and engaging enough to work for intimate listening as well. The beats are what I expect from this kind of music - clicky, highly variant, unpredictable, yet still able to maintain good groove and swing. The synths (melodies & patterns) are typically kind of "simple" (not the sound design), but don't let that deter you - they are used perfectly for this kind of sound; there are many layers of whooshing, rises, beepy melodies and  nostalgic 8bit/analog-ish runs. The production overall is super tight: the drums hit hard and are super crisp, the synths sit perfectly in the mix, and the tracks have a brilliant amount of overall space and "bigness". It reminds me of the style that a lot of newer "netlabel" IDM acts are doing, but without a doubt stands above them. Kinda sorta along the same lines as Huron, adamned.age, DNN, Planet Boelex, etc.

Bad stuff:
- I think the biggest obstacle for this release is simply that it is only 8 tracks long, and 3 of them are available for free on a prior release.
 - The Carapace has already developed a very specific sound (which is good), but these songs tend to sound overly similar at times and there are definitely instances where I think to myself "didn't I just hear this element/section?"

As a whole, this reminds me of older N5MD when they were mainly releasing emotional IDM - stuff like older Arc Lab, SubtractiveLAD, etc. Definitely a must hear for people who like moody, spacious, and intelligent electronica. Be sure to grab the free "Interpretations in Time" to get a feel for his style, and if you enjoy that release than you will want to pick this up for sure. Fans of Halbsicht, Soft Phase, Tympanik, Hymen, Crazy Language, Sutemos, Lovethechaos, etc. grab it!

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

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