Review of Chessa [12k1030]

Musique Machine (.COM)

A few months ago, when i reviewed Motion’s album, I complained that sometimes 12k favoured “sound-signature” to quality when choosing to release some works. The new Shuttle358 album is here to remind us what a great label 12k really is.

For all the bitter taste that, for some reason, Motion left in my mouth, the recent releases of Fourcolor and Shuttle358, as well as the upcoming Minamo album have underlined the quasi-constant excellence of the label’s output.

Behind Shuttle358 is Dan Abrams, who released is first full-length on the label in 1999 after having sent Taylor Deupree a copy of his demo. His 2000 Frame album is now considered as a masterpiece in the genre popularized by the label, and it’s really sought after, since not many of the Cd’s have been made (12k’s usual initial pressings: 1000 copies).

So this is of course pretty minimal -or rather seemingly minimal music-, and microsound based. Usually people tend to consider that those albums are better listened at low volumes, but I beg to differ, for this one at least: the full depth of the music is perceived at loud volumes. Then, you are enveloped by the microsounds that are revealing their astounding quality.

What makes Abrams stand miles above some of the others mircosound musicians is that he doesn’t hesitate to insist on, to underline particulars elements of his music that are usually hidden behind the granular aspect of the sounds taken as such -i.e. not as music-. Melodies are very present, and quite fascinatingly constructed. He also incorporates the sounds of real instruments such as strings, percussions or guitars, in a very discreet way that reminds me of the better releases of Intr.Version.

With Chessa, Abrams and 12k are behind what is already one of the best electronic releases of this year. May the future releases of the label be as good! 5/5 Fran├žois Monti

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