Undermathic: 10:10PM
Tympanik Audio

Though Undermathic hews to the dark electronic side of the spectrum in a manner to be expected of a Tympanik Audio artist, Maciej Paszkiewicz also proves himself to be a composer who's a cut above the rest. That's certainly apparent on 10:10PM, his follow-up to 2009's Return To Childhood, especially when the Poland-based producer allows the melodic sophistication of his music to come to the fore. Though there's an ample amount of grit and grime under the tracks' fingernails, it doesn't overshadow the compositional artistry on display throughout the hour-long album.

While the recording doesn't separate itself into heavier and softer halves, the opening half does seem a tad more relentless in its intensity and the second half does appear to let a bit more light in. The album's heavy-hitting side is spotlighted during the opening tracks, including the ominous opener “Big City Nights,” which sculpts a dread-filled ambiance when dramatic string figures rise amidst stormy noise squalls and percussive bell strikes. The subsequent “It Is Me” plunges even deeper into the nightmarish undertow when the full force of its mournful song is unleashed in the form of viral synth flurries and hammering percussion. The aggressive rhythms powering “Searcher” likewise hit hard, even though the intensity lets up during a mid-song interlude. An omnipresent sense of threat permeates much of the material, such that “Alternative Timelines” and “Saiph,” for example, begin to sound like death knells when their elements gather into relentless, crushing masses of strings, electronics, and percussion.

But t here's also a powerfully affecting dimension to Paszkiewicz's music too, as borne out by the orchestral string figures that give the title track and the closing “Sea” such emotional gravitas. That side of Undermathic's music is also thoroughly spotlighted during “7 Years” in the elegant piano and string melodies that Paszkiewicz drapes across the tracks' urban metropolis. The Undermathic sound is, to say the least, evocative. As massive quantities of brooding synthesizer melodies and metallic beat patterns stampede through a given track, one pictures rain-drenched city streets riddled with crime and corruption and normal citizens' lives disrupted by anarchy and chaos.

January 2011