Keywords: IDM, Techno, Downtempo, Experimental
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
It’s nice to come around to finally talking about this EP, from Italian artist Smider. I remember that many months ago I wrote my first review for an old, but newly re-released Noise-Joy work here at YIKIS, the first of many since, and that during this review, which was naturally for Selvans’ self-titled album, I had foggily been able to recall him having sent something to me so many years previously that happened to be a work that became one of my personal favourites forever on the label. I had also remembered that he had introduced himself to me as a friend of another artist who had released something on my label. Well, that would be Smider, as my memory returns to me! And, before I’d even listened to Selvans’ work I considered him almost a shoe-in for a release just on the basis of association to Smider, who’s lengthily binarial title ep_exp101010101010101_0 had previously also become one of my favourites at Noise-Joy HQ.
It is truly a miracle that I can remember all of this, I have surprised myself. Anyway, it is a pleasure in my pants that I can now share this treasure tonight with you… again… after a hiatus of many years!
It begins with ‘exp0001’, forming a convention for the track titles to come. It’s highly ambient and textural, using digital, almost granular-sounding synthesis. It feels like a top spinning sounds magnetically. Playful bell tones come in, working enigmatically in an abstract harmony, and there is sparse treatment of mechanical percussion. Later, the percussion gains a bit more flesh. A stringed instrument of some kind seems part of the rhythmic layer. Very strange!
Next, ‘exp0011’. Koto (or something similar) and whirring mechanisms. Springy spoon against a grate percussion. Highly resonant. Digital pads float in, sounding like thin, base harmonic feedback. Static or rain… may be a thunderstorm, but in this context it could just as well be television fuzz. Click bass, subtle and deep electro tom grooves that are possibly an 808.
Afterward, we are treated to ‘exp0111’, an underwater ufo, all bubbles and lasers and tiny robots. Stabs of smooth bass, really lovely melodic bells that seem to alternate chords of beauty and darkness, love and alien horror. It reminds me just a little of some of Brothomstates’ old work. Interesting sonic atmosphere… this is flatter, colder, far less spacious and more micro in its use of sound.
‘exp1111’, the final piece, warbles in and then drops some serious BASS. Very frequency-conscious. It feels like compressed blast sequences. Underneath, small layers of echoing harmonic synth tones. Very digital… clinical. I feel like I’m on an operating table awaiting a knife that never comes. Maybe it does come, I’m just so numb by now I can’t feel it as anything but a strangely anxious sensation. When the bass falls away, the space really expands and the melodic tones are given room to breathe. The bass disorients, is like psychedelic novacaine.
My only complaint about this record are the abrupt ends, but it’s worth it for the surreal soundscapes… it’s almost an exercise in clinically perfect digital atmospheria. I hope you will enjoy!