Dalglish: Ideom
Record Label Records

If you like your experimental electronica raw and pulverizing, this engrossing trip with Dalglish (Berlin-based Chris Douglas aka Rook Valard) as your guide should satisfy your needs perfectly. Ideom's material inhabits a multi-textured hermetic space teeming with fragmented melodies, degraded noise, and fractured beat structures. A sense of controlled chaos haunts the material but while it may threaten at certain moments to collapse into incoherence Douglas is careful to ensure that it doesn't. The beat structures in particular seem both futuristic and primitive; the raucous clatter in “F.Moo,” for example, could just as easily be a dozen apes banging on metal boxes as electronically-generated beatsmithing.

The shrieking overture “Exhinenoln” suggests Ideom won't be a peaceful journey though things settle down once the comparatively well-behaved “Hysgeil” appears. The atmosphere is till disturbed but the track stabilizes itself with a softly pounding rhythm that churns throughout. Elsewhere, Douglas exhibits a remarkable talent for radically innovative sound design: imagine putting a microphone inside an overdriven vacuum cleaner and playing the results back at full volume and you might come close to capturing the sound of “Morder J.” In “Damlicht,” flickering fragments—drum brushes that seem to trot from side to side, faint flickers, surging tones, violent ripples—percolate incessantly as if writhing in a simmering cauldron of black oil. Sweeping string tones in “Simint” add a rare touch of elegance to the collection, even if they're almost drowned under a blanket of rumbling noise.

Douglas, incidentally, is no novice. He established himself in the early ‘90s under the name O.S.T. with the release of the Basilar EP and five subsequent full-lengths on Pthalo Records and the album Deflect on Emanate; he even opened for Autechre on the group's Confield tour, and certainly Ideom perpetuates the kind of uncompromising explorative stance one associates with the Warp duo. Paving the way for Ideom, Douglas appeared on Highpoint Lowlife with the 2006 digital release OtJohr. The fifteen-track, seventy-three-minute Ideom isn't always an easy listen but it's nevertheless an incredible one.

September 2008