2012 Artists' Picks

The Alvaret Ensemble
The Boats
Enduser / The Teknoist
Alejandro Franov
Christoph Funabashi
The Inventors Of Aircraft
Kostis Kilymis
Lau Nau
Madera Wind Quintet
Todd Matthews
Lubomyr Melnyk
The Outside Agency
Pleq + Philippe Lamy
Roach & Metcalf
Martin Schulte
Jay Shepheard
Tape Loop Orchestra

Compilations / Mixes
Darkroom Dubs Vol.3
Petre Inspirescu
Pop Ambient 2013
v-p v-f is v-n

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Bee Mask
Fluorescent Heights
William Ryan Fritch
Junction 12
Lind and Loraine
Alessan Main
Show Me The Future
10 Yrs 45 Vol. 10
Wolf Cub

Petre Inspirescu: fabric 68
Fabric Records

Petre Inspirescu (birth name Radu Dumitru Bodiu) definitely takes the road less traveled on his contribution to Fabric's mix series. Even without doing a methodical scan of the label's previous installments, it's a safe bet that no one's recorded a set that fuses classical music elements and minimal house rhythms in quite the manner done by Inspirescu, who's incorporated into the tracks a soprano's voice as well as studio recordings he made with a violin-cello-piano trio. It's also a showcase for the Romanian DJ-producer's music as all fifteen tracks are his own compositions, even if the closing “Piano Preludes” is credited to Bodiu Radu Dimitru instead of his alias. That the material is generally all Inspirescu lends the recording a clarity of vision that's often lacking in the typical mix disk.

The set's style is firmly in place as early as the second track, “Chestii Socoteli,” wherein orchestral instruments—violins, woodwinds, et al.—contribute melodic flourishes while an insistently percolating house groove gallops below. There are seldom melodies in the conventional sense as the classical instruments more accent the beat flow with an ongoing stream of miniature phrases. If that sounds unpromising on paper, it's more effective in practice as the approach, though subtle, amplifies the music's hypnotic effect. In addition, the mix exudes a sinewy and liquidy feel when its sounds slowly advance and then just as gradually recede, whether it be the soprano's singing and the violin's mournful cry in “Anima” and the near-subliminal piano tinkles accenting “Chosen” or the flutes and marimbas fluttering through (surprise) “Flurimba.” The beats recede altogether only once, and that's predictably during the set-ending “Piano Preludes,” which embeds elegant piano reflections within a gentle swirl of strings and synthetics.

There are arresting moments, such as when “Seara-n Crang” and “Dansul Libelulei” overlay percussion-rich grooves with a dramatic clarinet motif and strings, respectively. At such times, the music plays as if two different tempi are being brought together, one for the classical instruments and another for the beat pattern. Though one might expect that oil-and-water effect to be jarring, the juxtaposition proves to be more ear-catching than dissatisfying. By now, it should be patently clear that Inspirescu's sophisticated set is anything but a hell-raiser but something more rarefied. That's no knock against it, even if its even keel means that his mix might not have the broad and immediate appeal proffered by others in the series.

February 2013