Confutatis: Built in Anger
Ai Records

A fist protrudes out of Bernhard Pucher's mouth on the cover of his Confutatis outing Built In Anger, intimating a sonic throwdown of hellacious hardcore. In fact, the ten-song collection (Pucher's second Ai release after 2004's Light Reflects Sound EP) turns out to be sleek, late-night mood music imbued with spectral metropolitan ambiance; listening to the album, the image of a sleek convertible cruising through deserted London streets on a late summer night comes to mind. But don't get the wrong impression; the album's chilled, not somnambulant or sedate. “Atmos-Fear,” for example, showcases lustrous dub-shuffle while “Victimize” rolls out with a monster-truck stomp that would do Marco Haas proud. In general, Pucher distills his diverse array of influences—techno, industrial, trance, progressive house, techno, hip-hop—into a seventy-minute suite of understated atmospheres.

Pucher (who also releases material under the aliases Brian Aneurysm and EchoPilot) lets his Confutatis material stretch out, presumably to give the tracks ample time to work their magic. The set opens with a breathy sax jazzily musing over pinprick glitch-house rhythms in the forlorn opener “Faith,” an effect revisited in “To Die and Be” where a muted trumpet blows over crunchy beats and Pucher's laid-back rap. The album's mood is typically dark—the minimal bass-and-percussion groove of “Observation” a case in point—though the tech-house sparkle of “My Statement” adds bright funkiness to the mix. Elsewhere, “As Memory Serves” chugs smoothly with a minimal tech-house bump while “Just Ask” presents a skeletal setting of wayward organ lines and hip-hop beats. Having already issued stellar outings by Jacen Solo, Yunx, and Michael Manning in 2005, Ai's rep doesn't dip a notch with Pucher's nuanced brooder added to its catalogue.

October 2005