Music For Mathematics
(Compiled by Steve Poindexter)
The second CD compilation of material from Jamal Moss's Mathematics Recordings imprint is overseen not by the label head (as happened for the first volume) but by associate Steve Poindexter. Listeners familiar with the Chicago-based label will know what to expect and won't be disappointed either: a forward-thinking mix of classic house cuts, each of them leaning in a jazz, soul, acid, or experimental direction—and in most cases combinations of the four. Poindexter includes two exclusives from Moss himself (under his IAMTHATIAM and Hieroglyphic Being monikers) as well as previously unreleased material by roster artists that encompasses a wide range of related Chicago house styles.
The collection opens strongly with IAMTHATIAM's “The Human Aura,” a slow-builder that gains force with the gradual accumulation of layers. Sounding at first like a recording of an amplified wind tunnel, the track slowly expands into a rhythmic workout of immense physical rumble and thrust. At ten minutes, Hieroglyphic Being's “Space Is the Place” at first seems overlong but that impression fades after repeated listens when one gets pulled into the neo-tribal setting's hypnotic undertow. Anchored by an insistently repeating keyboard melody, the track weaves multiple keyboard melodies and percussive patterns into a gyroscopic whole that ultimately entrances. In one of the album's strongest cuts, the jazzier end of the Mathematics spectrum is accounted for by Bocca Grande's lovely “Adlibitum,” which finds elegant grand piano playing draped over a rich and exuberant percussion base; best of all, what starts out as a polite exercise quickly swells into an ecstatic, even tumultous workout. In contrast to Grande's acoustic approach, Analogous Doom's “The Polyhedron Nest” opts for a wholly synthetic mix of drum machine beats, chiming keyboards, and cosmic synth melodies, as does Andreas Gehm's aptly-titled “My So Called Robot Life.” Audio Atlas's “Guatemalla” bridges the two realms with piano chords and a swinging, slightly Latinized house groove coming together for a supple, six-minute cruise. Elsewhere, Les Aeroplanes' “Ils Disent Que L'Orient Est Rouge” delivers nine swinging minutes of classic electro-house warmed by Rhodes chords and smooth pulsations, Contra Communem Opinionem drowns “Conscious Choice” in a bubbly acid bath while serenading the listener with lush string strokes, and Takeshi Kouzuki stokes his acid attack to a furious broil in “Running Rhythm.” Whether you're already initiated or new to the Mathematics universe, you'll find much to dig into in Poindexter's generously-loaded collection.