Another Electronic Musician: Five

There's a conspicuously more pronounced spring in Jase Rex's step on this fifth Another Electronic Musician go-round, and it's at least partially attributable to a pronounced concentration on the D in IDM. It's always refreshing to hear electronic music presented sans pretension—Rexe's self-deprecating moniker and the accompanying promo sheet photo of him relaxedly quaffing a brew flies in the face of the stereotypical “serious artist” image—though absence of pretension shouldn't be construed to mean lack of sophistication, because if there's one thing Rexe's music is it's polished. Five's ten tracks are eminently precision-tooled in construction yet remain accessible in their musicality, due in large part to their generally joyous and melodious spirit.

Certainly the opener “Amidst” conveys a refreshingly upbeat spirit in its seamless mix of sophisticated layering and light-footed propulsion, and the tune's jubilant vibe escalates even higher when soaring synth textures enters the picture four minutes in. The material's sleek and glossy character carries over into “Simple,” a driving exercise in infectious dub-house. Here too Rexe manages to achieve a remarkable balance between compositional complexity and musicality. “DmFm” is so sunlit and breezy, one could imagine it filling the sweltering poolside air at a Hawaiian resort (admittedly an exceptionally progressive resort). Par for the electronic course, Rexe's music sparkles and chimes with the best of them (check out the glorious swells of multi-layered gleam in “Seed”), and there's no shortage of whirr and click (e.g., “Drive”) either for those keeping score. The material's seeming emphasis on the dance side of the equation doesn't mean the album teems with frenetic club ravers, however, as Rexe largely opts for mid-tempo languor in his five-minute set-pieces. Consequently, he remains true to the established AEM style while also giving it a welcome new twist.

January 2009