Rolan Vega: Documentary
Community Library

First things first: Documentary isn't the latest solo release by a Suicide member (that's Alan, not Rolan Vega). Secondly, while it is a synthesizer-based collection, there are no vocals (and, for the record, Suicide pairs Alan Vega's singing with Martin Rev's synth work). What it is is a beguiling, fifteen-track debut collection of home-recorded synthesizer vignettes that the Chicago producer (who also issues electro-pop under the Ariisk name) created over a multi-year span. The title's not arbitrarily chosen: many of Documentary's pieces were composed as live scores for short films, while others reflect Vega's love for anonymous, public-domain ‘library music.'

Stylistically, the album runs the gamut, extending all the way from pulsating sci-fi settings (“Painted by Children,” “Something Wrong with Today”) and iridescent dreamscaping (“Motion Crisiis,” “Documentary”) to textural explorations (“Skypoint Fall,” “Surface Cleanser”) and smeary dub-techno (“Playlite”). Operating as relentlessly as a well-oiled Berlin factory machine, “4 Autiim” offers a beautiful, Fluxion-styled example of propulsive Chain Reaction techno, while “Surface Cleanse” presents a vaguely industrial-sounding churn of smears and static. In addition, the ‘beautiful noise' Vega sculpts in “Nether” and “Morning Call” pulls Vega's material into Tim Hecker's orbit. The elegiac tones in “Viva Myria” establish a retro-future ambiance that suggests Vega could compose the perfect soundtrack for La Jetée. One of the most appealing things about Documentary is its economy of presentation: fifteen songs in forty minutes, with a number of one-minute vignettes scattered amongst slightly longer pieces, with the longest five minutes only. The rapid shift from one piece to the next creates a kaleidoscopic effect that captivates throughout.

September 2007