The Music Cartel
There’s a little sticker on the front cover of the CD that hails this ‘un as an “electronic masterpiece.” Now, it’s a nice little record, probably even a very good record, but even when factoring in all the “enhanced” video goodies, I simply can’t call it a masterpiece. Especially after the goddamn “video” was nearly impossible to exit.
Hans Platzgumer apparently has a lot to do with both H.P. Zinker and Aura Anthropica, neither of whom I’ve ever fucking heard before, so context is right out the window. What I do know is that I’m relieved that this record owes precious little to any of the “electronica” “trends” so prevalent in our unlucky time (i.e. Moby’s halfhearted eclecticism, trip-hop drooling, or that sorta Frenchy ironic nonsense that Madonna’s all gaga over). No, Platzgumer is exploring the not-yet-stripmined ground of oddballs like Plaid, Photek, Third Eye Foundation, and other likeminded boffins. Unfortunately, unlike the parties named above, Platzgumer invests very little emotion or feeeeeeeling into his sonic centerpieces, so they become just that, dazzling decorations. Sound-as-sound, and not sound-as-expression, which is not a cliché, ya dig?
I’m of mostly the same mind about this newish Plateau platter, but I judge it by a much harsher set of a priori standards. Plateau is another cEvin Key spinoff, abetted by Philth of Download, and specializes in bloodshot-eyed tech tomfoolery. The only problem is that I’m left a bit cold when I compare this to last year’s fine Involution project, or heaven forbid, when a copy of Skinny Puppy’s The Singles sneaks into my stereo. Damn precepts! Do they straitjacket the artist? No, I don’t want to hear Too Dark Park again, but I’m really missing the subjectivity and sloppy expressionist freakouts that dominated Involution (whisper and Skinny Puppy and Download). Kinda just exists on the merits of sound itself. No burning reason at all. But that don’t mean it’s a bad ‘un• this IS cEvin Key, after all. This record to me is just him getting his head together and figuring out some new sonic parameters before he comes back for real and blows ALL of our minds. Ain’t no shame in the commercial release of a sketchbook.
Metropolis Records, PO Box 54501, Philadelphia, PA 19105; The Music Cartel, PO Box 629, Port Washington, NY, 11050