Mokira: Persona

Can it be that five years have passed since Andreas Tilliander inaugurated the Type label with his Album release? Apparently so, which prompts one to not only consider the large temporal gap separating the two Mokira releases but also the amazing body of work Type has given listeners in that time. Persona, whose title and cover photograph inevitably call to mind the Bergman film, doesn't pick up where Album left off but radically parts company from it by exchanging laptop production strategies for a full-on immersion into an analogue synthesizer universe. The shift is instantly audible when “About Last Step and Scale” initiates its eleven-minute journey smothered in tape hiss and thereafter swims through a grainy sea of hazy synth swells in a mix so ocean-deep it invites comparison to the recent work of Deepchord and Soultek, and more generally the styles associated with Cluster, Basic Channel, Vladislav Delay (circa Multila and Entain), and kosmische musik. The onset of “Lord, Am I Going Down?” brings about an intensification in approach when the mass grows in size and writhes at times violently as it struggles to free itself and redefine its shape. At Persona's center, “Oscillations and Tremolo” lives up to its title by stripping the Mokira sound down to a krautrock-like stutter, and the skeletal drum pattern that snakes a serpentine path through “Valla Torg Kraut” is so primitive it could have been lifted from Ralf & Florian. This latest Mokira model is anything but buffed to a sleek and smooth sheen; instead, raw pulsating patterns (at times generated by a Roland TB303) and corroded tones drift in and out of the mix, cracks appear along the mix's stuttering surface, and a layer of grime appears to coat everything in sight. The immediacy of the material is enhanced by Tilliander's decision to effect seamless segues from one track to the next, thereby lending the recording a live feel, as if it were laid down in “real-time.”

April 2009