Review of Between Two Points [12k1012]

Haunted Ink (US)

Between Two Points is a two-disk set which brings together artists and music from Taylor Deupree’s two labels, 12k and Line. 12k is the more familiar label, the one which spawned Deupree’s own music and the music of Shuttle358 (aka Dan Abrams). This label almost single-handedly spawned the “clicks and cuts” musical style (at least, that’s what their web site says). This is, in other words, where the more “popular” glitch music can be found. Line is Deupree’s and Richard Chartier’s more avant-garde label, which specializes in the micro-micro-micro relationship between sound and silence. Above everything else, Between Two Points is, to me, what electronic music should be all about – exploring the fascinating new sounds that electronic and computer instruments can create, without all the baggage that accompanies most mainstream music. The songs on this disk are centered around ideas, music and otherwise, that can go in virtually any direction at all. These are songs that range from bouncing glitch numbers like Mikael Stav√∂strand’s “+” (which has a rhythm composed of some clicks, some cuts, some synth stabs and other digital FX, but doesn’t really have a beat, as the various sounds speed up and slow down in various, unrhythmical ways) to warbling experiments like Komet’s “Lag” (which puts glitches and other synth and FX sounds in the background and foregrounds a repetitive synth hiccup) to ultra-minimal epics like Richard Chartier’s “010101” (which is about 10 minutes of silence, with only the hidden trace of sound floating in the nether-background of the track at various intervals). The latter song is actually an amazing work, despite its heavy-duty minimalism. Yes, most of the song is silent, but the sounds that show up are so faint that you’re not even sure they are coming from the song or from the incidental sounds around you. You start to focus on hearing – something? Nothing? It’s not clear. But no, the sound is there; it’s just so faint it magnifies the silence itself, forcing you to hear that silence differently (in the very best John Cage tradition). The music here is challenging, to be sure. But it’s also an example of the best kind of electronic music out there today – music that is unwilling to be anything other than itself, performed by artists who simply create music because they find it interesting, challenging, rewarding, and inspiring. There’s actually not a bad track among the 19 tracks that span these two disks – and that’s something rare, especially with compilations. If you have never heard a 12k release, then pick this disk up, as it compiles some of the best work released on the label, including work by such stalwarths as Kim Cascone, Deupree, Abrams, Komet, and others. If you have all the 12k music already, pick this up because it is a great introduction to the Line label and its heavy-duty experimentation from artists like Chartier, Immedia, and *0. Despite what others might say about minimalism in general, this is listenable music; it is simple and certainly abstract, but those are *good* qualities – qualities that separate this music from everything else out there. It might not be music to dance to or jog to, but it’s ideal music to study to, to read to, to think to, to daydream to, and to sleep to.

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