|· Another sea change in electronica
Like garage rock, electronica is a musical process. Unlike rock, it is a self-conscious one, and electronic musicians are generally aware of the subject and object of their method.
As a result, there is a slow and regular oscillation in this musics evolution, between synthetic and organic sounds, as the emphasis moves from the nature of the process itself to the intrinsic qualities of its sound material.
As Oval, Markus Popp was responsible for the most extreme process music of the 1990s. Sparse recordings of the rhythms of digital technology breaking down clicks and glitches kicked electronic music away from the dance floor and the soul and R and B preoccupations of trip-hop and drum n bass.
Its now almost a decade since his two classic recordings. So is not exactly the negation of 94s Diskont, it places itself deliberately at the other apex of the pendulums arc the foreground is saturated with the layered sound of collaborator Eriko Toyodas murmured vocals, in which Popps deconstructed rhythms create random tears and folds.
Colleen is French, and as such represents of a generation of French electronic artists who insist on their independence from the mellow French touch sound of the mid 90s, but share its distinguishing characteristics more melody than rhythm, mellow aural texture and a notable lack of Teutonic extremism.
Everyone Alive loops acoustic instruments in a rich and surprisingly accessible sonic blend. Its not entirely original the mandolin pieces inevitably recall Ingram Marshall, the cut-ups owe a big debt to Karl Stone and Hans Appelquist took some of the same ideas much farther last year on Tonefilm, but it fits nicely with the new mood of electronica, and its eagerness to engage with the more listenable aspects of both pop and classical music.
For those not yet familiar with the electronic music of the third millenium, neither of these albums is the best starting point. So is a trifle esoteric, while Everyone is just a bit too easy. Two 2002 compilations Lost for Words (Leaf), and In Case of Motion Sickness (Peter Im Flying) offer more accessible tracks, and more panoramic views of the field, but these two new albums are solid works, moving things forwards once again.