Pleq: Absorbed by Resonance

Pleq: Ballet Mechanic
Basses Frequences

Bartosz Dziadosz may be one ultra-prolific producer—the past few months have seen Pleq releases materialize on Basses Frequences (Good Night), Impulsive Art (Sound of Rebirth), and now mAtter and, once again, Basses Frequences—but, even so, the quality level remains high from one project to the next, and Absorbed By Resonance and Ballet Mechanic, both composed and created during 2009 and 2010, are no exception.

In contrast to the Impulsive Art collection, there are no vocalists or remixes on the Matter set, just seventy minutes of Dziadosz alone. But all that means is that the material is unadulterated Pleq, which is perfectly all right as his dextrous sound sculpting is more than capable of tickling the ear all by its lonesome. It's also an admittedly more ambient and textural release than Sound of Rebirth; whereas piano and ride cymbals are prominently heard in that collection, they're noticeably downplayed, if not absent altogether, on Absorbed By Resonance (though, by the sound of it, guitar treatments, are the main sound element in “Getting Through”). What we have instead are multiple, hypnotic ambient-drone settings where Dziadosz shows himself to be a master of sound design and sensitive to texture. In the introductory section of “The Glow of Minerals,” heavily accented chords and melodic fragments, accompanied by sounds of rippling static, alternate between right and left channels, until a slow beat pulse appears halfway through, to make the piece even more arresting. The title piece finds him sculpting an atmospheric evocation of determinedly ominous character, as echo-drenched sounds reverberate down musty underground corridors where steel doors clang shut and insectoid life forms chatter and chirp—absorbed by resonance indeed. “White Moth in the White Coat” likewise nudges the Pleq sound into a rather more industrial zone where loops of percussive noise and slivers exert a lulling effect on the listener. Dziadosz clearly had Kant on his mind when crafting “Critique of Pure Reason” though there's little about the soothing closer that directly evokes the 18th-century philosopher. Obviously the most eye-catching detail about “Last Month's” is its twenty-two-minute length (so epic it makes the twelve-minute “Getting Through” seem a mere interlude by comparison) but the piece is notable for other reasons too. Letting the material develop without haste, Dziadosz drapes delicate swathes of static over long, muffled tones to produce a calming, shimmering ambient-drone that could easily be mistaken for a Celer production.

Ballet Mechanic would seem to hold a special place in Dziadosz's heart, given his own description of the release as “[his] most personal, abstract, and intellectual work to date. Ballet Mechanic is never to be repeated.” Only Dziadosz, of course, knows why the release is his most personal and in precisely what way it won't be repeated, but every collection, no matter the artist, comes equipped with mysteries impossible to unravel; one more in this case pertains to the gear used in the music's production, as no clarifying details are included with the release as to what equipment was used and exactly how the album's six tracks were crafted. No matter: the music, as always, offers more than enough on its own terms. In this case, Dziadosz follows up on last fall's Good Night CD single with a so-called “glitch” remix of that release's title track as well as five prototypical Pleq productions varying in length from five minutes to twenty-seven—yes, a twenty-seven-minute piece that, hard to believe though it may be, towers over Absorbed By Resonance's twenty-minute opus. In the case of Ballet Mechanic, Dziadosz's focus is primarily texture, as every one of the ambient-drone settings seems as if it comes wrapped in static, grime, crackle, and sizzle. But an understated melodic dimension threads itself through the material too, and nowhere more splendidly than during “Good Night (Glitch Remix)” where a simple repeating piano figure proves to be as mesmerizing as it is soothing. The gentle waterfalls of piano draw a subtle connection to the opening piece on Eno's Music for Airports, though obviously the Pleq track is the more texturally pronounced of the two. There's little mechanical about the title piece; instead, it's a soothing ambient drone whose quiet murmurings and elongated tones are augmented by a persistent cricket thrum that, all by itself, is capable of transporting the listener into a campground setting on a dark August night. “That is Really the End,” on the other hand, might have been the better choice for the “Ballet Mechanic” title, considering the vast number of whirrs, clicks, and gaseous emissions that appear during its nine-minute tally. And what about Ballet Mechanic's “The Harvest”? Drenched in soft static and clicks, it's as oceanically deep as might be expected and sounds at times as if the muffled blur of a far overhead plane has been spun into a loop that's intended to go on forever.

Needless to say, both Absorbed By Resonance and Ballet Mechanic are quality offerings from Pleq, and their appeal is enhanced by the subtle ways in which they differ from Sound of Rebirth.

March 2011