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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Totakeke - "eLekatota: The Other Side Of The Tracks"

Artist: Totakeke
Album: eLekatota: The Other Side Of The Tracks
Year: 2008
Label: Tympanik Audio
Genre: Intelligent Rhythmic Industrial
Website: www.myspace.com/elekatota

Totakeke is apparently a side-project of a guy who’s got “main” projects that I’ve never heard of. Anyway, this album has been dubbed “intelligent rhythmic industrial” by the label Tympanik Audio. In most cases I would be able to go into a rant about how false that description is; however much to my surprise and excitement, eLekatota actually lives up.

Packaging: 2/10
The packaging on eLekatota is pretty run of the mill boring and generic. My 13 bucks got me a nice 2 page booklet with really blurry and overly dark pictures and the standard “thanks” text.

Composition: 9/10
Luckily, the music on eLekatota completely makes up for the shoddy half-assed packaging. This was my first experience with Totakeke and as per usual, I had pretty low expectations, but I can say with complete honesty that this album blew me away. The album starts off a bit slow, with the first two tracks not really grabbing my attention but not exactly being bad either. But the album really kicks into high gear on track three, “Pull The Plug”, which is probably my favorite piece of the album. Totakeke is a master of abstract rhythm and melodies, and eLekatota is definitely worthy of the adjectives “rhythmic” and “intelligent”. The album is absolutely chock full of multi-layered beats weaving in, out, between and through myriad synthetic melodies and harmonies. The only thing that I can compare this album to is perhaps a more chilled out and electro Pneumatic Detach. While the album is indeed heavily rhythmic, it is definitely not a club album and there are very few of what I would call ‘hard, driving rhythms’. This is an infinitely more cerebral (bedroom) album than most other rhythmic noise. The album moves slowly and takes it time slowly but surely building a complex web of drums, noises, atmospheres and subtle melodies. There are also many vocal samples which sound half terrifying, but the words being spoken are usually pretty intense if you take the time to listen to that which is being said. Many of the tracks incorporate similar sounding elements, but by no means do the tracks sound the same. It seems to be that they all work in their individual ways to be a piece of a greater whole which is eLekatota. Quick summary: tons of stuff going on and tons of changes within the tracks. No boredom to be found here. If I had to provide a visual description I would say this is an upbeat soundtrack to a dystopic future city with lots of glass buildings and robots.

Production: 10/10
The production on eLekatota is damn near flawless. This is probably the first thing that hit me in the face upon putting this album on initially. The production is huge and thick, everything sounds fucking amazing and deep. The bass is super thick and phat and the beats never cease to kick. Every drum hit is placed perfectly, as is every individual noise and chunk of atmosphere. The melodies are great and perfectly placed in the mix, and the samples are always perfectly audible. It’s a bit strange to hear an album like this that uses so little distortion and contains so little noise. Some really top notch mixing and mastering.

Artistic Merit: 8/10
There is definitely much artistic merit to this album. I can say without a doubt that there is no other album out there that sounds very much like this. Although it contains semblances of electro and industrial and ambient…it is none of these, and yet perhaps equally all of them. It’s very difficult to describe this album with genres and standard adjectives. I think in many ways it clearly stands out from its contemporaries and although it’s difficult to say if this is a timeless album, it is definitely something that anyone who is into abstract electronic music should spend a few minutes checking out (and most likely those few minutes will mutate into many many more).

Flow: 9/10
eLekatota definitely contains a very fluid forward motion to it. The tracks sound similar enough that they can been seen as smaller pieces of a greater puzzle; a puzzle of a singular vision which the entire album works together to achieve. The tracks mesh well with one another and listening to the album from beginning to end is not a difficult feat to achieve. The drum beats and synths in many songs have similar sounds, but this is not to imply they sound the same. They are similar enough only to further the vision, and this keeps the album cohesive without being monotonous.

Overall Rating: 9/10
Overall, eLekatota is a pretty fucking stellar piece of work, and a huge progression from the previous Totakeke album. Anyone who is looking for something heavily rhythmic that won’t bore you to death with repetition should absolutely spend some time with this album. You will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t; I still can’t put the album back on the shelf.

-dan barrett


Anonymous said...

A right honest accessment, Dan. I'm glad you spent some time with this album. eLekatota has become one of my all-time favorite electronic music CDs.

Anonymous said...

hey I'll have to let you borrow "Lament" it was awesome too.

-Craig (Failed Utopia)