Review of Apikal.Blend [12k1022]

Eoipso (AT)

German expatriate Juergen Heckel, currently living in Paris, has released his third album as solo artist Sogar.Apikal.Blend is a somewhat esoteric effort, full of multi-layered arrangements and floating sounds that create an almost hypnotizing atmosphere.

Album releases on Taylor Deupree’s New York-based label 12k are always highly aestheticized and aimed at the connoisseur. A very strong visual identity is part of 12k’s concept, hence the cover artwork follows strict design guidelines: bright colours, modern style, the beauty of minimalism. Their current compact disc releases come in a digipak with a matte surface and are strictly limited to 1000 copies.

Why is that important? Well, simply because Apikal.Blend clearly benefits from its cover artwork. The bright colours and the “modern architecture” motif make a good background for Sogar’s medium-to-high-frequency sonic collages. It’s impossible to pin down one of Apikal.Blend‘s tracks to characterize the album. The tracks have abstract titles like “Monohr” or “Selkind”, but this does not mean that they resemble anything like conventional songs.

In fact,Apikal.Blend is a constant stream of fluctuating and oscillating sounds, divided by short pauses. Sogar obviously favours hisses and high-frequent noise to build his compositions, which lends a very “clear” quality to the production. Apikal.Blend almost reminded me of Eastern ritual music, with its repetitiveness and mind-expanding character. But, if you listen closely, you will also find a lot of unrest in Sogar’s music: while the dominant layer might be a floating sound, a wall of dissonant and bleepy sounds can be heard in the background.

So, summing up the contradictory aspects and the slightly arty approach, I would say that Apikal.Blend is definitely an album for connoisseurs with a pair of really good headphones.

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