Boomkat Product Review:
2016’s most meticulous album of Algorithmic Body Music, Chicago house and Belgian new beat, made by the guy who delivered that insane “For Promotional Use Only” white label for Diagonal, produced on malfunctioning software with two Atari ST PCs, using Yamaha FM synthesis via MIDI...
Following that amazing 12” for Diagonal and a limited tape release for Ecstatic, Berlin’s Nat Fowler renders his meticulous Novoline for its second full-length release, a killer marriage of automated EBM and unexpected midi disruptions, continuing a lifelong quest for esoteric knowledge and a love of archaic computer hardware.
Modelled on re-appropriated software, run on two separate Atari ST's, Movements is the compelling result of obtuse production technique and painstaking trial and error; basically experimentation at the service of discovering a sound that really sounds unlike anything else out there. As he explains:
“I like the idea of using restrictions in order to find and push boundaries, from limiting which octaves I use to how many notes at a time. I use the only PC capable of MIDI that had no multitasking, so communication is immediate, a direct mechanical communication from my fingers to the sounds is created. I feel lucky because technology has accelerated so fast since the first digital synthesisers and PCs that nothing since the early 1980s has been really pushed to its limits.”
In that sense, he can be placed in a small category of operators - including The Automatics Group, Dave Noyze, Lorenzo Senni and V/Vm among them - who persistently gnaw at the boundary between dance-pop and avant-electronics, and with all of whom he shares a capacity for hearing the poetry of singular frequencies, unique pitch combinations and the strange electronic timbres just waiting to be be born from overlooked, outmoded equipment.
Whilst at times it may recall the saltiest digital tone and gait of early Chicago house and Belgian new beat, there’s a futuristic funk and idiosyncratic ambiguity to Movement that entirely belongs to Novo Line; whether bubbling up the mutant dembow lacquer of opener, The Movement 1, radiating form the tightly-bound, curdled funk of Hot Piece, or jabbing like a bag of cyborg slow house cats in The Movement 2, it really does make for one of the year’s finest and most addictive dancefloor mutations, bar none.