Raudive: A System Of Objects

Macro's penchant for wonky abstract techno continues apace with the release of Oliver Ho's second full-length under the Raudive name, A System Of Objects. Those with a soft spot for Stefan Goldmann's Macro output will find much to like about Ho's set, too, which arrives three years after his previous Raudive collection Chamber Music. Ho brings an amplitude of experience to his productions: active since the ‘90s, he originally established a name for himself with a series of techno releases on labels such as Cocoon, Pokerflat, and Blueprint before shifting gears with the 2006 birth of his Raudive alias and a comparatively more experimental take on the genre.

That Ho is hunting different game than the standard club animal is clear from the first moment when “Feral” scatters a number of bird chirps, voice samples, and strangulated sax bleats across a skeletal rhythm bed. The cuts that follow indicate that the Raudive sound is a curious mixture of the primitive and the sophisticated, with percussive found sounds as integral to the material's character as contemporary production methodologies and drum machines. “Visitor,” for example, grounds metallic percussion and raw vocal-like accents with a pulsating, synth-smeared techno pulse, resulting in a track that includes as much natural sound content as manufactured.

That future-primitive dichotomy imbues many of the fourteen tracks with a tension that isn't unwelcome—if anything, it's what most gives Ho's Raudive sound its distinguishing character. In that regard, dance rhythms transcend their purely functional body-moving purpose and become the means by which ritual dance traditions are evoked. A System Of Objects isn't without its clubby moments, however, as shown by “Ruins,” whose slinky, bass-powered groove and off-kilter synth stabs bring a serious club vibe to the recording, and “Floor,” whose title seems apt in light of the pounding bass pulse that provides such kinetic drive. That there is an anthropological dimension to the project doesn't mean there isn't room for the material to bounce, which it does during “Missing in Action,” to cite one instance, when it's not serving up exotic excursions like “Blood and Hair” and “Fragments.” The hour-long set also ranges widely, so much so that it even includes a foray into ‘70s No Wave in “Furniture,” a punk-funk workout whose sax and vocal babblings call to mind a time when figures like James White and the Blacks, DNA, and Lydia Lunch roamed New York City's club stages.

November 2013