Released: November 1999
Is IDM a diverse genre? Some say not; some say that the very experimentation that is at the heart of IDM is itself categorized into only a few, spare sounds: fragmented samples, distorted electronics, ambient nostalgia, and lo-fi Pac-Man sounds. To some extent, this categorizing is accurate, but it misses the point. IDM music might have some familiar sounds, structures, ideas, etc., but the variety within each of these categories is remarkable. Why do I bring any of this up in relation to Datach'i? Quite simply because this New York artist manages to take all the disparate elements of IDM--all the ambient synths, CGD blips, FXs, fragmented porn samples, and lo-fi everything and create something truly IDM (emphasis on the I). This is truly a distinctive album: an album of diverse sounds, structures, tempos, and colors that manages not only to stay together but also to create an interesting, unusual listen. For example, the fourth track, "VCR Powered Carcass(x)," begins with a sharp, distorted rhythm that builds into a repeated sample, further distorting. The rhythm and distortion push together for a few minutes, with very little let-up--that is, until the next track, "VCR Powered Carcass(2)," which is almost exactly the same thing, but adds a lot more distortion and some gong or bell sounds (distorted, of course). The next track, however, is "Turtle Head," which is a bunch of traditional keyboard, drum, and synth sounds melded together and fragmented just enough to let us know that it's not a real jazz combo. Then, later on, there is "Take Off Your Face," the happiest song you'll ever hear, with a Plone-esque synth keyboard sound and the oh-so-faint buzzing of a distorted bee. So what keeps this album consistent? Oddly enough, the key here is distortion, or fragmentation, both of traditional sounds and of experimental or electronic buzzing. This is a unique album, one of the year's best.
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