Biomass: Electrozali
Low Impedance

On his third Biomass full-length, Athens-based Panos Kyveleas (in all likelihood the only electronic producer who can lay claim to being both a dystopian soundscapist and pharmacist) orients his sample-based material around the exotic scrape and saw of the Cretan Lyra, a three-stringed bowed instrument that's central to the traditional music of Crete and other islands in Greece. In a clicks'n'cuts style that's distinguished by a Middle Eastern and Arabian flavour (an approach that calls to mind Random Inc.'s Tales of the New Jerusalem), the forty-minute album features seven sub-bass-heavy tracks that fluctuate between beat-based workouts and heavily-textured moodscapes.

The opener “You Must Log In To Do That” begins as an exercise in electrical dronescaping before morphing into a bass-prodded exercise slathered in sheets of metallic digitalia. Coupling the multi-layered scrape of the Cretan Lyra and a tribal-funk beat pattern, “Altamura” exudes a heavily narcotized vibe as it rolls stealthily towards the center of an Arabian marketplace. The heavily textured but overly repetitive moodscape “Esilio 99” is countered by the b rightly swinging title track whose dance rhythms lift its spirits to semi-feverish proportions without ever quite crossing over into Dionysian abandon. The slow-moving “Credit” anchors the string sawings with a throbbing tribal pulse, while fierce winds and hammer blows punctuate the churn of factory machinery in the gloomy outro “Overlution.”

Electrozali is, in its aromatic fashion, contagious and is bolstered by the exotic character of its sound sources (the track “Hantiperas,” as performed by the Greek composer and Cretan Lyra player Psarantonis, and The Gaza Strip, are among those listed), a little more dubstep in its dub would make its material feel more current and less retrograde in its focus on the clicks'n'cuts style associated with the three volumes Mille Plateaux issued between 2000 and 2002.

August 2009