Mokira: Album

Andreas Tilliander (aka Mokira) garnered attention a few years back for his Mille Plateaux release Ljud and his Mokira outing on Raster-Noton (which ushered in the 'clip-hop' genre). With this album for Type, a new label established by John Twells (Xela) and Stef Lewandowski, he largely omits beats altogether, retaining only the subtlest hints of them. Appropriately titled, Album has seven untitled tracks that seep into one another, creating the impression of a fluid one-hour piece. Like Ljud, Album requires patient, close listening in order to appreciate its subtleties. Many tracks, for instance, undergo change so gradually as to seem almost imperceptible, until one listens carefully enough in order to notice those changes. This oxymoronic tension between development and stasis induces an hypnotic effect, the music unraveling in seeming slow motion. In this regard, it's reminiscent of Indian music where a raga master may play a single mesmerizing piece for numerous uninterrupted hours. A distracted listen hears Album as an extended ambient exercise; an attentive listen detects a wealth of detail in flux at any given moment. In track one, the music develops into an amorphous mass that floats with thrumming patterns, echoing surges, and granular hiss swirling around it, the occasional hiccups in the dense base displacing attention from the interweave in the foreground. Track two features louder, more industrial sounding cycles of subdued grinding, ambient flicker, and graininess with Tilliander showering shaker accents and fluttering patterns with billowing clusters. Track three is sparser, its insistent rhythmic pattern eventually swallowed by a reverberant cloud. In subsequent tracks, processed ambient sounds of voices and birds build into crackling, percolating waves that rise and fall. In fact, the last tracks resemble nothing less than the idiosyncratic drifting style Vladislav Delay presented on Entain and Multila. Like them, Album features shifting, dubby masses overlaid by clatter, hiss, and static, the critical difference between the artists' works being the absence of a regulated rhythmic anchor on Album. Obviously, to even suggest some degree of kinship with Delay's seminal recordings offers a clear sign of Album's captivating qualities.

March 2004