Z-arc: Accumulative Effect

Some electronic music can be so polished, it verges on sounding antiseptic. So it's refreshing to hear Z-arc's (real name Kris Derry) premiere solo release sound so gritty and grungy in places. The material apparently was inspired by Isaac Asimov novels and science books about universal atomic expansion and the sonic equivalent of that dimension is readily audible in IDM-centered episodes that emphasize signature tropes such as analogue synth melodies, fractured beats, and atmospheric whooshes (“40 Microns,” “Theta Sigma”). But Derry works dirt into those episodes too, typically in the form of bottom-heavy funk rhythms that gives the ethereal material an earthy quality (“4001” a good example). “Refracted,” one of the collection's best tracks, is a near-perfect marriage of effervescent synth melodies and downtempo funk rhythms, and, believe it or not, the mix of synths-and-beats in “Transbeam” even aligns Z-arc more closely to a hip-hop instrumentalist such as Eliot Lipp more than your standard IDM outfit. The album's strong opener “Dihedral,” an aggressive mix of IDM and hip-hop, traffics in that style too, unlike “Airlocked” which combines whir'n'click and drum'n'bass. Adding to Accumulative Effect's appeal is its well-timed forty-seven-minute duration—just about right for a recording of its kind.

March 2008