Review of Apikal.Blend [12k1022]

Grooves (US)

In the hyper-abstract world of music without conventional melody or song structure, it’s rare to encounter an album as flat-out beautiful as Sogar’s Apikal.Blend. The best way to understand this record is to zoom way in: Jurgen Heckel makes atom-smashing music, where particles of sound vibrate in space, collide, and then vanish into a fine mist. There’s plenty of glitch and static-smeared feedback throughout (like Fennesz and Keith Whitman, Heckel generates some of his raw material by plugging a guitar into his laptop), but Heckel mixes in an underpinning of shifting drones to induce a vague sense of yearning and wonder.

The layered “Selkind,” for example, is like Microstoria in melodic “Endless Summer NAMM” mode fused with the warm keyboard voices of Child’s View: a track of touching delicacy. “Monohr” has extended chords that at first seem random beneath the layer of unstable noise, but then unfold and resolve themselves in a manner both logical and sublime. “Harm_red” is built around a whine that sounds almost exatly like the buzz of cicadas in summer, revealing how manmade algorithms can sometimes overlap with the complexity of nature. As each of the nine pieces flow one into the next, Apikal.Blend takes on the quality of a laptop suite, where a few guiding principals direct the flow of one long work. Challenging and lovely. – Mark Richardson

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