Miwon: Pale Glitter
City Centre Offices

Judging by the exceptional quality of the twelve electronic pop gems constituting Pale Glitter, one might expect Hendrik Kröz (aka Miwon) to have a discography pages long. Surprisingly enough, the album's his debut, a full-length follow-up to an earlier City Centre Offices 12-inch (Brother Mole) and an appearance on Andrew Weatherall's mix-disc Fabric 19. One notes immediately that Pale Glitter is more dance-oriented than the average CCO release, and that its forays into microhouse, ambient, techno, and electro-pop are eminently convincing. Some of the material (the lush, silken microhouse streams of “Hush”) wouldn't sound out of place on a Kompakt Total comp. The dubby, swirling head-nodder “Darting Ropes” also recalls Thomas Fehlmann's contributions to the Cologne label while “Brother Mole” is a totally irresistible sampling of lush techno-pop, with Kröz chanting a charming paean to his animal friend (“We got friends in the darkness”) over dubby bass lines and a sweetly bumping base; “No Need for Sanity,” a remix Miwon did for Estonian band Pia Fraus, is a similarly dreamy slice of vocal-based electro-pop. Superbly crafted and modulated, the driving, bubbly microhouse of “Semafora” glides with a graceful élan as Kröz intersects e legant streams of washes with jittery percussive patterns, and punctuates the groove with an intermittent tock reverberating in the background. Techno dominates elsewhere, whether it's the percolating, wiry techno of “Spiralize” or the whirring, mechano-techno of “Flakes.” The album takes its most epic turn with the almost eight-minute title track, whose immersive, minimal techno recalls Porter Ricks' glorious Chain Reaction outing Biokinetics. Though the ponderous industrial character of “When Angels Travel” more vividly suggests angels inhabiting Hades than Heaven, the album itself impresses as an oft-heavenly and remarkably accomplished affair.

January 2006