Ryoji Ikeda: Supercodex (CD, Raster-Noton, November 2013)

I got hold of Ryoji Ikeda’s 1995 debut album 1000 Fragments when it was re-released by Raster-Noton in 2008. I liked it, but I didn’t love it, and I hadn’t really paid him much attention since then. That changed at the 2013 todaysart festival, where his test pattern performance tore the atrium of Den Haag town hall apart. Lying back in that fantastic space, it was like he’d filled the room with giant crystalline insects. According to my notes from the time (well, okay, twitter) it was like “Leafcutter ants snicking with their snippers and deathwatch beetles drumming”. This is obviously brilliant, and it was the highlight of a great festival. So when I saw he had a new record out, I figured I’d give it a go. And here we are. I am pleased to report that the insects are still in attendance, and in fine form. The effect on CD is rather less dominating, and certainly less physical, than his audiovisual live act. In fact, for music made pretty much entirely out of clicks and superficial resembling binary data on tape, it’s really rather playful — quite refreshing given how much doom-laden bass-heavy stuff is coming out right now. With 20 tracks making up its 65 minutes, it moves on at a fair lick, and he manages to do 20 recognizably different things, which is impressive. The effect of the interplay between the intersecting glitchy rhythm is always involving and often pretty catchy. It’s taken a few listens to really get into it, but right now I’m finding it kinda addictive. Now, I must go back and revisit 1000 Fragments.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Industrial / Drone / Noise.

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