Boomkat Product Review:
Italian electronic composer Giuseppe Ielasi themed this album around the idea of rhyhmic grids, something illustrated in a helpfully literal fashion by its artwork: the colourful, closely knit and highly organised construction provides a visual signifier for the sort of musical developments captured on the disc. Seldom do you hear an artist on the 12k roster working so explicitly and so pointedly with rhythm, but Ielasi does something quite remarkable with Aix (so-called because the album was made in Aix-en-Provence, incidentally): he's used all the tricks in his microsound arsenal to fashion warm, strangely jazzy 4/4 music from delicate conrete sound sources. The narrative unfolds according to Ielasi's largely improvisational sequencing skills, stacking up a wealth of location-based acousmatic events - forming beat patterns from the strangest of sampled noises. What makes all this so intriguing is the use of space; Aix feels like such an immersive, well poised experience beacuse it avoids cluttering, allowing you to gauge the depth and scale of Ielasi's digitally-assembled grid environments according to the interplay between booming low frequencies and the more microscopic, higher range timbres. The fifth piece, for instance, is sprinkled with close-up, brittle percussive gestures and spacious clatter emanating from the middle distance, and it's all pinned together by deep, rotund bass plunges that sound as if they've been snipped from a Farben 12". The spread of natural echo across the stereo field is another key ingredient here, and moving onto track eight, the gloomily reverberant clacks and shuffles start to sound like noises from the same empty construction site depicted on the sleeve, suggestive of space, and proportion. At times, the end result of all this electroacoustic toil might reasonably be described as 'techno concrète', but inevitably any such soundbite fails to do this record justice - it's a far more musically rich experience than that, in no way enslaved by its own conceptual origins.