The key to unlocking Inner8's eponymous album is less the esoteric philosophical dimension the release appears intent on accentuating (in its liner notes especially) than that it's authored by Daniele Antezza, the Italian-born, Berlin-based producer who's made his name as one-half of Dadub and who along with fellow Dadub member Giovanni Conti runs the Artefacts Mastering studio and masters all Stroboscopic Artefacts releases (the label on which Dadub's 2013 album You Are Eternity appeared).
The Matera-born (Southern Italy) Antezza does come by such intellectual leanings honestly. A thoughtful creator, he's someone interested in doing more than just creating something aesthetically satisfying. Sensitive to convention, he's constantly reflecting on the content of his work and how it challenges or extends existing frameworks, and wary of capitalism and its corrupting effect on an artist's creative process and sensibility, he's the rare individual who draws inspiration for his approach to mastering from Gadamer's hermeneutic tome Truth and Method.
The album itself, the inaugural release on the Undogmatisch label, which Antezza operates alongside Mirco Magnani (aka T.C.O.) and visual artist Valentina Bardazzi, reflects Antezza's fascination with irony and paradox, and the Inner8 moniker itself possesses ties to Nietzsche's notion of Eternal Recurrence in the kinship between the number eight and the infinity symbol. Further to that, Aristotle's name-checked in the title of the opening “Eudaemonia,” and “Violence” includes Slavoj Žižek pontificating on the distinction between subjective and objective forms of violence (“Violence is usually the arm of the impotent”), a topic the Slovenian philosopher explores in his 2008 text Violence.
Stylistically, the album covers a lot of ground. There are moments when Inner8 could understandably be mistaken for Dadub, as shown by how thoroughly Antezza dives into the ambient-dub slipstream during “Eudaemonia” and stokes cryptic techno fire during the aural hallucinogens “The Irony of Karma” and “The Paradox of Authority.” The thudding bass powering its way through the squealing mass on “Praxis” will likewise sound familiar to Dadub admirers. Hearing Žižek's voice against a blurry ambient backdrop, on the other hand, one could be forgiven for identifying it as a Terre Thaemlitz production as opposed to one by Antezza. In addition, “Daimon Anthem” moves the recording into a territorial zone associated with Third Eye Foundation and Muslimgauze in its melding of Middle Eastern vocalizing and raw, industrial-funk beatsmithing.
In the long run, one's reading appetite needn't include Also Spake Zarathustra and Discipline and Punish for the sixty-five-minute collection to be enjoyed, although a background in philosophy won't lessen one's appreciation of it. Certainly anyone taken by Dadub's dense, experimentally-inclined techno should find Antezza's Inner8 as captivating.