Boomkat Product Review:
Jeff Witscher, aka idiosyncratic electronic musician Rene Hell, presents a typically considered, challenging debut release via PAN. Those who've encountered his acclaimed albums for Type, or his NNA Tapes split with OPN, will hear a defined progress in 'Vanilla Call Option', whilst those new to his music should be prepared for a visceral, cerebral exploration of piercing timbres and sheer, hi-end computer sounds that in turn recall the evocative beatless treatments on Lee Gamble's incredible 'Diversions' set and Rashad Becker's more recent deviations from linear production templates on his 'Traditional Music Of Notional Species'. The fancier kosmic elements of his previous work are now all but junked in favour of a more subtle, underlying approach to melody giving prominence to experimental, probing psycho-acoustics. It's really one of the most physically affective records we've heard since Florian Hecker's last attempt to shave our inner ear hairs, and conducted with a similarly philosophical logic attempting to construct "vertical narratives" from a new language of timing and flight. Yet, whilst there's a rigour and discipline to 'Vanilla Call Option', we'd refrain from labelling it Academic music: there's a playfulness, however obtuse, most literally manifest in the title of 'This Is Chess' (he's a keen player, apparently) which sustains interest beyond any concepts, while the brooding, distant drone symphony, 'Merci cheri', or 'Furniture Music', have an innate emotional value. Ultimately, it's a beguiling record which is likely to perplex and draw reactions, no mean feat in itself, and another fascinating transmission from a label that's on fire right now.