Yvat: Kunzite

Over the course of many years, Boltfish has built up a reputation for pristine, melodic electronica. Kunzite, by Bucharest, Romania-based Yvat (Octavian Justinian Uta), doesn't wholly depart from the formula but roughens it up considerably and is all the more appealing for doing so. The album's glitchy tracks crawl like marauding colossi laying waste to already-barren landscapes, in large part because Yvat anchors Kunzite's brooding atmospheres and inflamed synthesizer melodies with clanking broken beat patterns that give the album's dozen cuts serious heft. The head-nodding rhythms that lend “Syncline” thrust sound as if Yvat constructed them from samples of knives being sharpened while the mechanical, whip-crack beats in “Knotting” and “Acrimony” hit hard in a way that recalls Tri Repetae (admittedly the style gets pushed to a too-hyperbolic extreme in “Turmaline”). Not just the beat programming but the sound design too is razor-edged, and consequently a track such as “Feldspar” exudes a menacing and viral character not typically heard in a Boltfish release. Kunzite hardly sounds like the work of a novice and it isn't: Yvat has worked as a professional sound designer for over ten years, and lists a catalogue of more than twenty solo releases among his credits, not to mention appearances on several compilations and collaborations with visual artists. Arguably his most audacious release would be the 2003 debut album Concert for Violin and Analog Orchestra, a work built around heavily-processed violin lines and analogue synthesizer tones.

July 2009