Oleg Poliakov: Random Is A Pattern
Circus Company

First things first: Oleg Poliakov isn't the artist in question's real name. Instead, Oleg Poliakov is an alias adopted by Frédéric ‘Skat' Aubourg, one he devised initially in order to create beats for hip-hop MCs before shifting his focus to electronic music composition. It's not an entirely new alias either: Auborg's first recorded appearance under the name occurred in 2007 on the twelve-inch Datcha Musik for Circus Company. Aubourg treats Random Is A Pattern—his first long-player under the Oleg Poliakov name following numerous singles—as an opportune avenue for stylistic exploration that an EP or single doesn't provide as easily. Consequently, the album result is one that liberally explores many—perhaps too many—possibilities.

That the hour-long collection begins with a collage (“Intro,” its most memorable element a philosophical meditation on time by an unidentified male speaker) makes perfect sense, as the multiple directions alluded to in the opener are like a microcosm of the album as a whole in its own tendency to splinter off down numerous pathways. It seems as if every cut that follows riffs on a different style: “Amanite” situates itself halfway between pumping tech-house and dub-techno; “A Quiet Storm” merges ambient-electronica soundsculpting with funk and broken beat; and “Ethereal Thoughts” could pass easily for a lost dub-techno out-take from one of the classic Chain Reaction releases by Fluxion or Various Artists.

Without a doubt, the album's most exuberant cut is “C.A.V.O.K,” whose thumping, bass-throbbing groove swings with a mighty techno roar, while “Beyond,” all dubbed-out textures, swinging drums, and bass pulses and with bounce to burn, shows Aubourg's eminently capable of crafting a contemporary-sounding house track when the mood hits. Illustrating how dramatically contrasting the album can be, Aubourg follows the pounding techno workout “Anatomy of a Shipwreck” with “Lies,” a haunting, piano-based setting crowned by a plaintive vocal delivered without a hint of irony (“Holy are you / There is no God but you…”).

Though Poliakov executes the tracks with impressive skill and craft, the listener comes away from the album with a somewhat vague impression of what a truly representative piece of music by Poliakov sounds like. That is, Random Is A Pattern clearly demonstrates that he's equally capable of producing dub-techno as clubby house tracks but one nevertheless leaves the recording not entirely clear about the artist's identity. Having said that, the album certainly provides a generous amount of listening pleasure, and there's also much to admire about its stylistic range. There's no question that “Ethereal Thoughts” is indebted to Chain Reaction, for example, but there's also no question that it's as good a riff on the Berlin label's sound as one might imagine hearing.

December 2013