Review of Optimal.LP [12k1005]

Ambientrance (US)

Optimal.LP draws heavily from the microscopic and ostensibly souless world of digital electrons, giving them loose structure, warmth and life by way of stunningly arranged sound patterns. In this most impressive debut, shuttle358 (a.k.a. Dan Abrams) has constructed a definitive ambient/electronic blend. For further insights, see this month’s interview with Taylor Deupree of 12k.

Generating its own bio-mechanical atmosphere, a hazy, rhythmic echosystem opens swarm, to be joined by thinly hovering rays, muted notes and occasional insectoid electronic accompaniment. Sweeping over bug-like sound patterns and a bed of static, slowly in… casually drones in a straight line, with further accents from smooth bell-tones. Airy synthflow adorned by a faint shuffle, and slightly disruptive microbursts is next (1:49).

Echoing with self-replicating patterns and just a bit of grit, gone goes peacefully amidst a radiant electron mist, overlain with synth strata. A thin, computerized techno-tribal beat penetrates the free-floating dronecloud of optimal, which simply basks in its lovely radiation field. A distorted voice twice questions the listener of floops which proceeds to sing a story of abstract electronics which pulse, drone, warble and waft oh-so-beautifully.

Beginning as an evolving sonic protoplasm, emergent eventually spawns small beats which rise from its densely simmering miasma. A cyclic techno-mechanical backdrop is draped with lushly swelling synth sheets in system (8:35), which receives additional visitations from electrically warbling fly-bys, muffled notes and precise, tinny syncopation. From a random gel, tank grows into something a bit more active, as its dully chiming notes begin to cascade and multiply in a gorgeously geometric soundsculpture; eventually the form suffers entropy, fading away and falling apart, though achingly lovely all the while.

Operating as Shuttle358, Dan Abrams proves that the “cold” mechanics of computerized sound can be given distinct warmth and beauty. optimal.lp absolutely radiates with a dazzling blend of precision and passion, evoking a hearty 9.4. Seriously, you’d best be getting over to the 12k website and getting your copy of this masterpiece; it’s limited to 500 copies…

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