Review Summary: And then—

Things fall apart; things come together. A lot of great glitch music does both at once in an instant, and if there's one thing I think it takes to get on board with it, it's a baseline level of faith and imagination channelled towards the latter end of the equation — as long as you believe on some level that something can emerge from any or each point where the music stalls or unpicks itself, then whether or not the piece as a whole actually does 'come together' is irrelevant. What matters is the suggestion: so long as each 'glitch' is evocative of some fresh possibility for the piece in question, be it a structural development, a fresh refraction of an established atmosphere, or simply a new way of hearing a note, then it has done its job. No, that hiss, that click, that flicker is not interrupting your ambient muzak or downtempo beats — it is a precious moment of disjointed clarity that should, often does, skew the camera for a moment in a way that allows us to appreciate everything worthwhile about whatever form the piece had to begin with.

"Trainers", the fourth track on Plat's excellent 2005 record Compulsion, is one of the finest examples I've heard of this effect from any artists. Discontinuity is written into the very fabric of the song — its beat is so off-kilter, so self-interrupting that it absolves of any need to 'support' the rest of the arrangement and instead presents us with a single, awkward rhythmic unit deconstructing itself further and further over the course of four minutes. Why is this compelling? Because the synth pads that float in and out of the picture tell us it is, each chord allowed to linger so fleetingly that its passage is marked just as much by the intake of audience breath as by the thriller-suspense makeup of its progression. The song hits a brief dynamic peak, but for the most part its attraction comes from the impossible tension in the stare held between the two halves of its arrangement as they cough and stutter their way around the words to address to one another — and if it cuts out before they harmonise in dialogue, then few sentences leave a more lasting impression than those unfinished.

It makes for the album's most spellbinding individual cut, and it isn't a trick that Plat attempt to repeat elsewhere: they lay enough of a foundation not to need to! Strip Compulsion of its glitches entirely, and you're are still left with an IDM-friendly downtempo record that has just as much to say through continuity as through momentary rupture ("Trainers" is the only track here that risks being relegated to a background non-entity in a glitch-free world). The likes of "Flökt (Shiver)" and the funkier groove of "Kverkatak (Stranglehold)" lay down a relatively smooth downtempo experience, underscored only lightly through glitch, while "Aftur (Recurrence) Fakemix" slices through the melodic layers of its arrangement and leaves one of the album's smoothest basslines to do its work. "Plat" brings to mind the innocuous melodies that would trickle over purgatorial concrete nine years later on Boards of Canada's Tomorrow's Harvest, though its choice of tones is not quite as spartan, while the closer "Árátta (Compulsion)" recalls the palette of their earlier work as it lays down a masterclass in atmospheric ebb and flow (you won't hear a payoff that tactile, that kinetic on anything from Music Has the Right to Children). The album has easily enough of an organic grounding to play IDM to its advantage – even its most aesthetically mechanical track, "Hverfandi (Vanish)" is full of engaging contours – and showcases such a palatable ear for tone that it's hard to think of it even as a particularly demanding outing. If glitch is about opening possibilities so evocative that they can easily remain abstract and unconsummated, then, well the rest of this record does respectable legwork when it comes to filling in the



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user ratings (12)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2024


61273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Been low on inspiration lately, so it's time for the pick an album and review it in an hour flat game (ending of this review is no reflection of this)

Album is p perfect as far is its blend of styles (downtempo/glitch/IDM) goes, might end up bumping

Demon of the Fall
May 29th 2024


34877 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am not displeased with this choice. Is it too much to ask for Citrus to get similar treatment?

yeah be the change you want to see, but last time I started a review it took… oh wait over a month in and still not complete. Hmm...

Cool album. Will read.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2024


61273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Uggh Citrus does need a review (as do advantage Lucy, Flipper's Guitar and a handful of other shibuya kei standouts) but I have no idea how to knock it out for that one. Needs something zany and creative, maybe the time pressure would help though?

ffs
May 31st 2024


6269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

made me think of lovely bouncy lil amoeba blobs floating around a petridish splitting apart and stuff and just having a great time

Observer
Emeritus
June 2nd 2024


9408 Comments


this is up my alley! thanks for the writeup

Observer
Emeritus
June 2nd 2024


9408 Comments


Lame

the bandcamp isnt letting me buy digital

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2024


61273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

The bandcamp page for this is a mess lol, don't think you can get anything through it at all? Wouldn't even let me embed

FowlKrietzsche
June 2nd 2024


1407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The song I checked from this (Trainers) is real cool, suppose I owe this a full spin

FowlKrietzsche
June 29th 2024


1407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A W E S O M E record

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 30th 2024


61273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Yus!?!!

FowlKrietzsche
June 30th 2024


1407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love how this palletizes its free-form, everdeveloping nature with bumpin grooves, easily one of the coolest electronic records I've heard so far



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