Review of Spec. [12k1007]

Grooves (US)

It’s almost a rule in electronic music that you must worship the bass – and the lower the frequency the better. “Specification.One,” not surprisingly the first track on Spec., turns that assumption on its ear (literally): A high-pitched dinging is unleashed for 4 minutes and is as ear-throbbing as anything we think of as “loud” music. That tingling pitch also shows up prominently on “Specification.Two” and “Specification.Five,” interplaying with a thuddy kick drum (which works into something like a 1/8 rhythm on the former and more like a “beat” on the latter).

Silence is also played beautifully here, becoming an anxiety-producing pause between what sounds like a roulette wheel spinning again and again (for 6+ minutes!) on “Specification.Three.” Elsewhere, Chartier and 12k head Deupree do some of that micro sound/glitch processing that’s all the rage now (and the more it sounds like dental surgery, the better apparently) – gritty but not as challenging. It’s come to this: Moving away from the mere sequencing of digital debris and back towards old juxtapositions of sound/silence and high/low timbre – which is often brilliantly done on SPEC. – now seems boldly experimental. – Sean Portnoy

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