Cantilever: Idalis / Hadalis
Square Root

Idalis / Hadalis, Cantilever's (Dan Streeting) third release for Square Root Records (the Mina single and the Memory Loss EP the other two), is a fascinating exercise in formal experimentation that's musically rewarding too. Each of its four pieces is ten minutes in length, the reason being that each is in some way a reconfiguration assembled from common materials. The primary pieces, “Idalis” and “Hadalis,” were created as a single, multi-layered composition which was then split into separate pieces by adding and removing specific layers. Consequently, the two pieces sound both similar and different, and the same basic description is applicable to both: each fuses crystalline IDM melodies with grimier electronic funk patterns that incessantly whirr, sputter, shuffle, and writhe, and with mangled beats that babble and pop throughout—the one amounting to a slightly distorted refraction of the other. At the same time, there are differences in mood between them, with the first comparatively more buoyant in spirit and the second more somber. If the third piece “Idalis / Hadalis” sounds denser than the first two, it should: it presents both pieces simultaneously, one on the right channel and the other on the left, and as such most closely approximates the original composition before it was stripped down to form the separate pieces. By contrast, “Hadalis / Idalis” again features the two tracks playing at the same time, but in this case they're disassembled and rearranged in oft random manner, resulting in the most fractured variation of the four. Despite such extreme manipulations, however, the piece retains a fundamental musicality.

In executing the project, Streeting set out to explore a number of themes, such as the effects of juxtaposition and the ease with which digital technologies enable endless variations to be generated from a set number of materials. The recording succeeds in realizing said explorations but also as a purely musical exercise that one can enjoy with no awareness of the formal strategies that were involved in its production.

February 2009