Ellen Allien: LISm (CD, BPitch Control, March 2013)

Remember when Ellen Allien was a techno producer? For quite a while now, the original Berlinette’s output has had a pretty tenuous relationship with the genre, or indeed any genre at all, and has been none the worse for that (I’d take Dust over Thrills any day, much as I love Thrills). Still, I was a little thrown by LISm, because I was trying to understand it as a continuation of that arc, and it just made no sense: it was only when I gave up on that and accepted it on its own terms that I could appreciate it.

So. This was written as the soundtrack to a modern dance performance at the Pompidou centre (and just check out the artsy capitalization of the title). The first ten minutes revolves around a few notes repeated on a guitar, a skittering of percussion, and a vocal which says “falling, falling, falling”. It’s post-rock, essentially. Subsequent movements consist of floaty melodic ambient, dirty fuzzy ambient, and later on, occasionally, something with a 4/4 beat which could be considered a sort of überminimal techno maybe. There are some lovely moments in here, but on the whole, I kind of feel this isn’t what she’s best at, and for me it is a minor entry in the Allien catalogue.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Experimental / Electronic.

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