Title: Severem Retrixia
Release Date: 20 January 2013
Genre: Experimental IDM / Glitch
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Release Page: Self Released / BandCamp
It’s something of a stunner that I missed this release back at the beginning of the year. This is the kind of release that I am always on the lookout for: an artist that takes a concept and runs with it in directions that haven’t been tried before. The starting point in this case (at least to me) is Aphex Twin’s ‘Richard D. James Album’.
But where as the Aphex Twin release is mostly full of glitch and funk, Alterphase goes a different direction with quirky, angular lilting melodies woven between soundscapes that mix rapid-fire electronic percussion and keyboard textures. Even the breaks in the tracks are full of surprises, like the ‘Inthism Phusem’ slice of a piece of choral classical music from some un-determinable piece.
While it might sound like this is a form of auditory sensory overload at first, there is a method to the madness. the percussive back drops often serve as a form of counterpoint to the melodies that dominate the songs. It makes for exceptionally entertaining listening, especially on tracks like ‘Sindisleep Latrix’.
There’s also something of a nod here to all sorts of keyboard masters of the past. From lead instruments that sound like they are right out of an 80’s or 90’s video game, to sounds that would have been quite welcome back in the prog rock or early electronic music of Yes or Klaus Schulze or Isao Tomita.
And, I know that is not all that is contained in these tracks. There is a lot more that I will be finding for months, possibly even years to come. It’s always easy to pick out a track like ‘Seventeh Duufhr’ for the electronic orchestration in the piece, but it’s not always to figure out where all the influences come from, and where the artist has decided to go with those influences. (A case in point: while writing this review, I had to revise the previous paragraph as I recognized another influence in one of the pieces.) It’s one of the most entertaining things about a release like this for me: knowing that I will be able to listen to it for a long time. And knowing that I will probably never know all the influences that went into the work — but the journey is the thing, reaching the destination is not.
Let’s just hope that Alterphase doesn’t go the way of Aphex Twin and produce something along the lines of ‘Windowlicker’. Although, that doesn’t seem all that likely given this release.