Since the early 1970's, Norbert Möslang has made a career of coaxing dynamic sound through the hack and animation of utilitarian devices (i.e. radio controlled cars, children's toys such as the Mega Mouth, phosphorescent lights for the installation and album Capture). eRikm's invention on his 3k Pad (aka three Kaoss Pads) Loop System and dual turntable set up, coupled with supernatural technical dexterity, puts him in a category bin somewhere between Christian Marclay and DJ Qbert. On Stodgy, the duo coalesce four early 2000's European performances into three works of managed disarray inside artificial environments.
"Stinger" begins with a series of electrical swells, adding rich harmonic content with each panning pass to offset the potential idiosyncratic shrillness (think the art of making the squeal of your vacuum pleasant). Soon, a steady digital tick is introduced, and then another to add polyrhythmic offset before the track crescendos and falls into a low, hypnotic chug; sonic elements bubble, splinter, receive heavy doses of reverb; a hyperactive horde of mechanical misfires and manipulations rises, climaxes and gives way to a duet of a barely registered, dog whistle range tone and miniature UFO touchdown. On "Aérolithe", a nudging rev gradually pitches upward, pulling along a wagon of detritus — define that as the hive mind of Möslang's whirring surges and eRikm's octopus juggle to simultaneously button push, finger slide a Kaoss Pad, platter spin and rapid-fire record change). For seven minutes, the piece builds into a hurricane whose tranquil eye is never met as, having reached the most voluminous height, the only surprise left is to abruptly power off to silence.
eRikm and Möslang further incorporate these patterns of maximal to minimal for the fifteen-minute "Micelle", loosely following the form of the first piece, though employing new and augmented sounds from their vast palette. After a dual of what sounds like three arcade games going haywire, they bring the pulse back and settle into an extended passage based on a loose drum break and jumpy bass stabs (reminiscent of the moments when Autechre moves past development and lets their frame fall askew before changing scenes); the beat fails, the acid carries on strong, but eventually is pulled into a cloud of buzzing drones and dying sirens.
At just over a half-hour, Stodgy offers a lot, but stops just at the point of overload. (Insert clever polymorphism and function overloading analogy with regard to eRikm and Möslang's capacity to master machines / understand their nature better than the creators here — I'm going back in for another thirty minutes!)
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