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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pleq - "Our Words Are Frozen"

Artist: Pleq
Album: Our Words Are Frozen
Year: 2010
Label: DataObscura
Genre: Minimal, Ambient
Website: www.myspace.com/pleq

After several ambient-influenced idm EPs and full lengths on labels such as Crazy Language, U-cover, Envizagae, Halbsicht, etc, Pleq releases the full length "Our Words Are Frozen" which is a bit of a departure from his usual sound. This time, Pleq treats us to minimal ambient in the vein of Sleep Research Facility, Architrav, Alvo Noto, Lull, etc.

Good stuff:
- evolution. Despite minimal ambient being, well...boring as fuck, Pleq actually does a good job of making captivating and evolving soundscapes. If you just flip to a random section of one of these songs it might sound vacant and as if nothing is happening, but if you wait a bit and let the song wrap itself around you, you will begin to notice that these songs are actually pretty deep and constantly flowing.
- sounds. I mentioned a comparison to Alva Noto above, and I feel like Pleq has some trademark sounds that remind me of Alva: the crunchy static/white noise and subtle, sharp, glitchy percussive sounds that pervade most of his compositions. It's cool to see that these return here, but he uses them differently than on a traditional Pleq IDM album. So basically, even though this is a completely different style than most of his work, you can still recognize it as Pleq. His static sounds give some air to these compositions and help to fill out the frequency spectrum. They fit pretty well with the deep, moving drones. As the album progresses, the rhythmic elements become more and more prevalent, although never to the point where I would consider it to be "idm" ('Back To The Moon' comes close though)
- great background music. While this isn't as engaging as IDM or more "maximal music", this works great as background music for daily events or sleep.

Bad stuff:
- track 1. Goddamn, track 1 is boring. It's also 12 minutes of very little, save for ultra high-pitched static. It gets on my nerves and I skip it every time.
- volume. The volume on this album is rather low. While I'd rather it too low rather versus too high, it is significantly quieter than pretty much every other album I own. Also, some of the high frequency static is a bit too loud in relation to the pads; I'd rather have the pads louder than the static.
- its minimal. As I've stated previously in this review, this is very MINIMAL. If you're not a lover of ambient than this may come across as sounding boring and soporific. There are a lot of repetative sounds and most of the beauty here is confined to subtle movements.
- don't get krzysztof orluk to remix you. I don't see the point of this remix (track 6). It sounds exactly like the original, only it contains a nonchanging deep drone and some static (this static sounds more like the stuff you get in low quality recordings - the typical Pleq 'static' sounds intentional, whereas this...not so much).

It's a bit hard to rate this one. It's really good for the style of music that it is, however that style is, by definition, rather boring and obscure. If you like the more boring sides of Brian Eno, Robert Rich, Sleep Research Facility, Netherworld, Lull, etc than you should definitely consider checking this out. Though, if you're not an ambient enthusiast, I may suggest skipping this and instead checking out some of Pleqs other work like But It Does Not End There or The Metamorphosis.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

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