VA: Thesis Vol. 1
Impulsive Art

Impulsive Art's second release is an hour-long compilation of experimental electronic works tailor-made for fans of labels like Tympanik Audio, Ad Noiseam, and Hymen. A mere scan of the artists involved—Mad EP, Keef Baker, Larvae, Spyweirdos, Atmogat, Tapage, Mobthrow, for starters—confirms as much. You pretty much know, therefore, before the needle drops what's in store: viral, oft-noisy twists on dark industrial-IDM where strings collide with programmed beat throb and electronic effects. Rest assured no one'll be nodding off while the music's playing.

Not a lot of sunlight creeps into these oft-dystopic tracks, and there's an insistent end-of-the-world, machines-taking-over kind of aura bleeding off of much of it: Atmogat's clangorous “Distorg” unspools with the precision of hydraulic machinery, Tapage (Netherlander Tijs Ham) blends symphonic, piano-and-strings-laced elegance and hyperactive beat clatter in “Last Inhale.” IP Neva smothers his hard-hitter “Artificial Crisis” with conversation samples and aggressive drumming (live by the sound of it), while Keef Baker blends dreamy analog synthetics and slamming breaks in “Sapphire.” While Mobthrow's oft-convulsive “Xsozheim” provides a remarkable exercise in dense sound design and Larvae's “Shogun” a tidy three minutes of electro-funk head-nod, two of the album's strongest pieces are also two of its least aggressive: Andrey Kiritchenko's “A Vesper,”  a colourful electroacoustic piece arranged for piano, acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, fiddle, and electronics, and Spyweirdos's “The Oldest Door,” a restrained mood piece that gives violin the lead voice.

February 2010