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Boomkat Product Review:
Composer and synth fantasist Ori Barel attempts to bash '90s electronica against dadist Krautrock and avant classical music on the ambitious 'Alkaline River'. Think Plaid jamming with Art Bears and Faust and you'll have a good line into this one.
There's an admirable level of mayhem to 'Alkaline River' that we can't help but admire. Barel clearly has a lot of love for his influences, and his willingness to take music that's at polar ends of the genre spectrum and find its harmonies is already worthy of praise. It's an awkward mix, but Barel's got the chops to make it work - an academic composer and player, he's worked in electronic and acoustic music extensively, and composed for film and television, so this passion project feels like a way to crack his artistic knuckles.
'Solfege For Abstract Painters' is an early highlight, sounding as playful and erratic as Plaid's 'Rest Proof Clockwork', but more venturous, as if it was being replayed by a robotic jazz band. The title track meanwhile is a strange flutter of jazz drum rolls and raw rock guitar that's pierced by drainage electronics and free jazz horn squeals. Barel's apparently fascinated with algorithmic composition, and while he doesn't claim to use it here, there's a similar uncanny feeling to these tracks. It sounds as if a bunch of antagonistic elements were fed into a script, and a spiraling supercomputer was left to tie up the loose ends. All intentional, no doubt.