Review of Active/Freeze [12k1009]

Incursion (CA)

A collaboration between two artists whose individual musical visions have undergone major shifts in recent years. Former ambient master Tetsu Inoue (World Receiver, Ambiant Otaku) has shifted his interest to explore complex and incongruous computer programmations and cut-ups (see his two releases on John Zorn’s Tzadik label for the best examples of this new interest). Taylor Deupree, who has also dabbled in more traditional ambient works, has his roots in the techno scene, and has shifted his interest to more minimal rhythms and “microscopic” sounds (see the excellent .N on Ritornell or any of his releases on his own 12k label). So hearing of a collaboration between these two esteemed artists whose sound-worlds have evolved into very distinct clusters, my interest was immediately piqued. When I spoke with Taylor at the Mutek festival (my interview with him will be published in an upcoming issue), this release was still very new and was virtually unheard in its completed form. He was curious to know if listeners would pick up on the input of one artist more than the other, and if there was an imbalance of elements in the final mix. Listening to it over the past few days, I must say the result is a very intriguing blend of the two sound-worlds, where one’s input never outmanoeuvres the other. The artists have kept things minimal here, with clicks and shrills quietly arranged over a bed of silence. The arrangements are such that leave me anxious to hear how the sounds will evolve, in what strange combination the elements will next appear. I found the listening experience each time to be extremely rewarding, the sounds continuously surprising and intriguing me. An excellent disc, highly recommended for the careful listener. [rds]

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