Clicks + Cuts

Clicks + Cuts

Various Artists

Mille Plateaux

For this review, it would be sufficient to say that this double CD compilation is epochal, list the artists, and be done with it.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in minimalism. Minimal music comes in all shades and colors, from the lowercase sound of Bernard Guenter and Francisco Lopez through Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Phillip Glass to the minimalism explored on this compilation. The title refers to a process commonly associated with Thomas Brinkmann (who appears on this comp in his Ester Brinkmann guise.) Brinkmann would make incisions into the runout grooves of his records, sample them, and create tracks based around them. Brinkmann was on the crest of an oncoming tsunami of musicians who have expanded this aesthetic.

But, wait! Don’t think for a moment that this minimal business is an excuse for mediocre musicians to crank out tracks. This sort of music is unforgiving to mediocrity, because it is completely laid bare, many of the elements that were formerly there to add subtlety are now pushed to the forefront. This leaves even less room for error than before. Listen to Vladislav Delay’s gentle pulse perfection, vs. the austere grittiness of Alva Noto. The digi-dub throb of Pole resonates here as thick as it has anywhere else. Pan Sonic is one of the foremost proponents of this sort of electronic minimalism, and come through with a track more ghostly than those that have proceeded it. All these artists explore some of the more Spartan realms of electronic minimalism on the first disc.

The second disc is much less austere, aside from Panacea’s frigid crackling. “Sincecore” is a great departure from his techstep roots; his sound here is stripped down to the barest clicks and cuts. The ubiquitous Wolfgang Voigt’s contribution to this comp comes in the All guise; “Uberall” is a slurred, hazy exploration in out of phase loops. Jake Mandell’s track is up to his usual high standard. Kit Clayton strays from his dubby work for a highly textured abstract “Loads Like Normal.”

Clicks and Cuts is for neophytes and seasoned veterans alike, featuring enough unreleased material (most of the compilation) to avoid repetition in a record collection.

Mille Plateaux; http://www.mille-plateaux.com/

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