Another Electronic Musician: Use

Cued by his 'another electronic musician' moniker, listeners new to Jase Rex's music might expect his material to be self-mocking and laced with irony. Don't be fooled: even though the California native has only been producing music since 2001 (having recently attracted attention with his decompose collection, available from the en:peg digital site), the hour-long Use is serious business indeed, eleven computer-generated tracks of micro-glitch textures and fluid rhythms that flatter Rexe's programming, compositional, and production skills.

AEM weaves a range of crisp electronic textures (clicks, clanks, ripples, smears, starbursts) into intricate patterns with a refined elegance that recalls Jeff McIlwain's Lusine style (mechano-funk settings like “After Long” and “Careless” strongly evoke Serial Hodgepodge ); “H+,” for instance, unfurls with a languid pulse yet its relaxed vibe belies its multi-layered complexity. Enhancing the presentation considerably is the three-dimensionality of the mix itself; there's an open-ended spaciousness to constructions like “Extended” that's remarkable. And like McIlwain, Rexe renders the material fresh and propulsive by drawing more from hip-hop and funk for his rhythms than classic IDM.

If Lusine is one of AEM's major influences, Pole must be the other. Immersive tracks like “Collapse” and “These Given” plunge into reverberant digi-dub territory that can't help but revive memories of the ~scape artist's albums (especially the first two); if anything, Rexe's material often exhibits a driving propulsion Betke's could have possessed in greater amount. Even better, AEM often merges the Lusine and Pole styles in tracks like “Enclosure” and the more manic “Field Felt” where lush ambiance is punched up with insistent pulses, subtly funky in the former and tech-house-oriented in the latter. Rexe wisely varies the pace with a few meditative excursions too; check out the gorgeous sheets of string swirls, plucks, and found sounds that billow over a delicate industrial base in the stunning “Non Sum Qualis Eram” (“I am not what I once was”). Is Rexe merely 'another electronic musician'? Hardly so, based on the evidence of Use.

December 2005