Cernlab: Atomherz

ujif_notfound: Aneuch

Issued in 100 copy runs and originating from the Electroton lab, these recent three-inch mini-discs by Cernlab and ujif_notfound, each approximately twenty minutes in length and housed in distinctive transparent mini-cases, feature material very much consistent with the Numberg, Germany-based label's previous output: digitally sculpted, clicks'n'cuts-styled electronic tracks of minimal design and experimental yet accessible character.

Atomherz, Marek Slipek's second Cernlab release for Electroton, features four tracks of similar five-minute duration. Without straying too far from the minimal Cernlab persona, the EP manages to riff on different styles. “Scientificmurder” flirts with click-hop in battering a loping minimal-funk pulse with smears and convulsions, resulting in a track that contrasts the stability of its rhythmic foundation with the controlled wail of a freewheeling and at times nightmarish sound design. Though “Kowalskihorse” rolls out a syncopated micro-funk groove that's as close as the release gets to a straight-up club track, it's more memorable for the tiny starbursts with which Slipek spritzes the chattering pulse. The low-slung techno-funk shuffle of “Vietnamsugar” has its sights set on the android dancefloor, too, unlike the title track, whose writhing contortions and distorted belches liken it more to a formal exploration of textural counterpoint. Slipek's talent as a sound designer is on full display throughout the EP, and he shows himself to be an artful arranger as well, someone capable of walking that fine line between understatement and overstatement.

An associate of the Kiev-based Kvitnu label, media artist Gregoriy Potopalsky brings his knowledge of programming languages and audio and video processing (Max/MSP and Jitter ) to his ujif_notfound EP Aneuch. Don't be put off by the somewhat intimidating moniker: the release's three tracks aren't alienating, ear-piercing salvos but instead warm, harmonious settings that are largely, and perhaps surprisingly, melody-driven. Oh, sure, they still include the expected range of electronic sounds—bass tones, synthesizer flutter, and glitchy textures, among them—but the three ultimately focus on compositional design and arrangement as much as anything else. Mood differences abound, from the ponderousness of the title track to the brooding tone of “Hadaway,” whose rippling rhythm details skip through a dense covering of mist and grime. “Pain When,” the EP's third and final piece, might be the most memorable of all, however: the way Potopalsky expertly weaves staccato blips and droning tones into a dramatic, eight-minute meditation is striking indeed and, based on the evidence at hand, a strong argument on behalf of his ujif_notfound project.

January 2014