Karsten Pflum: Idhax

Idhax, electronic producer Karsten Pflum's third album, contains no shortage of fidgety noises and scratchy beats but one broaches it wondering if there's anything that distinguishes it from the innumerable other releases competing for shelf-space. Not a whole lot, to be honest, but that doesn't mean his follow-up to 2005's Flugten Fra År 2000 isn't solid enough, with Pflum refining a former ‘kitchen-sink' approach into a more sophisticated style. Those listening for influences might hear Autechre in the congealing “Fullbright” (certainly “Sv_Gravity” pitter-patters like a more disciplined Autechre, even down to the abrupt, mid-song tempo shift) while something like “Notarget” sounds kin to the music produced by Spezialmaterial artists like Intricate and Solarium. Since Pflum began making tracks with old synths and sequencers in the mid-‘90s, his music has moved through ambient and drill'n'bass periods (the latter anomalously revisited on the closing “God”) to the current mercurial style. All told, it's a spacey affair, not least because Pfulm scatters distorted voice edits throughout, thereby intensifying the music's alien character. Offsetting unsettling moments like the soundscape “Draworder,” where blasts puncture the writhing atmosphere, and “Impulse 11,” where a loping pulse reigns in shards of atonal fragments, are “Noclip” and “Fly” which exude a placid restraint that's not unappealing.

November 2006