Mokira: Time Axis Manipulation
Kontra-Musik Records

Mokira (with Silent Servant, Echospace, and Redshape): Time Axis Manipulation EPs
Kontra-Musik Records

Time Axis Manipulation, the eighth full-length album from Mokira, finds Andreas Tilliander's pet project in as chameleonic a state as ever. When Cliphop, the Mokira debut, appeared on Raster-Noton in 2000 it helped define the clicks-and-cuts genre, but by the time the third album appeared on Type in 2004, the Mokira sound had evolved into something far dubbier, with beats banished and the focus shifted to analog delays and atmospheric design. Continuing along that path, the new material can be heard as a multi-dimensional ambient-dub style that fuses the respective approaches associated with, firstly, producers Rod Modell (Deepchord) and Stephen Hitchell (Echospace) and, secondly, Vladislav Delay during his Entain-Multila days. Throughout Time Axis Manipulation, perpetually mutating elements bob within seemingly bottomless mixes, and, subjected to extreme delays, melted chords ricochet across broad textural expanses. Basslines fight their way to the surface of Tilliander's ultra-deep mixes, and the rhythms—when they're present—retain faint echoes of techno and house. That Modell-Hitchell-Delay fusion is never more clearly captured than during the propulsive “LFU Skank” and especially “Time Track,” which takes full advantage of its twelve-minute running time to showcase the full range of Tilliander's Mokira sound. Some tracks eschew beats altogether, the textural workout “Rainford,” not surprisingly, an example, while others could pass for recordings of well-oiled factory machinery operating underwater (“Kendal”). The album's different sides move to the forefront at its end when “Axis Audio” appears, which could be mistaken for a lost track from the Multila sessions, given the percussive clatter and burbling chords that shape-shift across its surface, and when Hitchell contributes a masterful “CV313 Remodel” version to the project as a CD-bonus track.

The album itself was preceded by three ten-inch singles, also under the Time Axis Manipulation title, with a Mokira track paired with a respective remix by Silent Servant, Echospace, and Redshape on the releases. All three guests beef up the Swedish producer's material in their own ways, with Hitchell naturally bringing an oceanic dub-like treatment to his track, Redshape a metronomic flair, and Silent Servant a charging techno spirit to his. The latter pulls “Time Track” up from its murky, delay-soaked depths and kicks it into gear with a rolling groove that makes the track club-readier than anything on the Mokira album. An insistent ride cymbal pattern and skipping house pulse strengthen the cut's forward drive and lend it a delirious quality too, without lessening the multi-dimensional character of the original. On the second part, Hitchell's “Echospace Model I” makeover brings the heat to “Axis Audio” by transforming it into a raw and funky stepper powered by a thumping bass throb. The third EP's “Manipulation Musik” (at times reminiscent of Entain and Multila) crackles and bleats like some run-down machine as strings appear on the horizon, while on the B-side Redshape (Present, Delsin) generates a driving, house-flavoured “Tape Dub” treatment solely using sounds from the original. Though, formally speaking, they precede the full-length, the EPs are well worth having in their own right for the radically different and robust spins the guests bring to Tilliander's material.

May 2011