Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
contact: woundsoftheearth@gmail.com

| news | reviews | interviews | recommendations | releases | articles | about |

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Access to Arasaka - "Geosynchron"

Artist: Access to Arasaka
Album: Geosynchron
Year: 2011
Label: Tympanik Audio
Genre: IDM, Glitch, Ambient
Website:  www.accesstoarasaka.com



The newest release from prolific IDM producer Access to Arasaka. With Geosynchron, he continues his evolution from tangible, cyberpunk-tinged melodic IDM into an abstract cluster of neural pathways firing at random. Geosynchron seems to be his Draft 7.30, where he finally breaches the threshold of (in)accessibility and earns his pedestal in the halls of braindance.  Contained within this record is nothing short of a whirlwind of percussive shrapnel with fragments of alien melodic content strew about; all contained within a strange cryotube filled with glowing liquid, with numerous tubes connected to its circumference pumping in aggrandizing chemicals. This is a super soldier of IDM.

Good stuff:
+ There is no denying the genius of his programming skills. He is (still) at the top of his game. No question about it, this will provide a challenging listen for all but the most jaded techheads. There are so many things happening and so many layers of each track that it would be beyond impossible to dissect these songs. There is not a second to get bored here; each one is permeated with some new, weird, and/or captivating sound. After repeated listens you will continue to hear new things and the songs will continue to feel "new" and exciting. Although this could also mean it will take some time to get "adapted" to this album.
+ The flurry of seemingly incoherent beats will certainly please fans of the most technical IDM, right up there with Autechre, Richard Devine, Funckarma, Aphex, etc. While not as groundbreaking as these, certainly a worthy heir to carry the torch for this new generation.
+ One hugely impressive thing is that he retains his beautifully futuristic, otherworldly melodic elements & pads, and he is able to integrate the beatwork around them in such a way that, despite the nearly unfathomable complexity, these tracks still conjure up amazing mental visuals of being jacked in to the matrix (the neuromancer one), a neural network, a computer's dream, etc. There are a lot of compelling ambient breaks to keep things flowing and changing, so that it's not just a cacophony of beats for 59 minutes.  If you liked what he was doing on Orbitus, ==Null, or thereabouts, you should dig this.
+ To go along with the melodic content, this record definitely feels akin to a soundtrack to a video or computer game...or perhaps a 90s style cyberpunk anime - it succeeds in giving me a nostalgic feeling that reminds me of playing Shadowrun or watching Cyber City Oedo.

Bad stuff:
- AtA's material has gotten fairly unapproachable for those not tuned into the upper echelons of IDM. (this is mainly a good thing, but unfortunately it will turn some people off...but fuck those people anyway)
- Once again, a lot of the same sounds or similar types of sounds are used again and again, and despite noticeable evolution, there is still a feeling of having heard it before.
- AtA seems to have a penchant for working with vocals that contrast horribly to his music. I have disliked all of his vocal songs, and the vocals on "Lysithea" follow suit: I find that they clash terribly and I can't stand them. The music is great and the vocals would likely be fine if put to another style of music, but they don't fit here.
- The production is unfortunately a little more murky than previous work.

In my opinion, this is absolutely the kind of music we need people to keep making now that Warp Records, Planet Mu, and the like are sort of over when it comes to releasing IDM - to remind people of the true potential for IDM and post-industrial music. This is the new generations contender against Autechre's Oversteps and Jega's Variance. If you like progressive music, AtA is an artist you do not want to miss. While not a perfect record, it earns a lot of points for what it means to the genre. To be honest, I'm not really sure where I would rank this album amongst his discography, but the fact is that once I put it on I don't want to turn it off, and that's what counts.
If you like his previous material, you should definitely enjoy this one too, especially if you are fond of cerebral exercise.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with nearly everything you've said -- except for your dislike of AtA's use of vocals. I love almost all of his vocal songs, and I find "Lysithea" exceptionally strong.

Also, full ack to your "fuck those people anyway." :-)