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- Mental Union by Aleksi Perala
9/10 Brian Staff review, 28 September 2012
I've delayed my trip to Wales this morning in order to fully digest this riveting and breathtakingly sculpted double set from the man formerly known as Ovuca, a Finnish man, a clever and highly talented man. Like the Jodey Kendrick anthology from earlier on this month, it has been heavily delayed due to Rephlex being super sloth-like keeping to their schedules. Not that it matters one iota - when a label is as damn-right visionary and influential as this Cornish wonder-stable then who minds waiting? Not like the music is gonna suddenly go out of fashion eh? Hahaha!
Unlike JK, this long term label stalwart doesn't follow the pied-piper RDJ so much stylistically. His Astrobotnia albums were amazing journeys full of cosmic drum 'n' bass and astral electronica that straddled the void between warm ambient techno and something suggesting a glacial forest of otherworldly sound. His style isn't un-eclectic but his sound is consistently deep, personable and powerful. I really struggle putting into words how lovingly constructed electronica such as this makes me feel. His rhythms aren't difficult or cartoon-y like some earlier Ovuca gear, and the tracks, although not epics, are longer rather than say the crazed grinning Briandance imps typical of 'Onclements'. I think there's a distinct velvety darkness to some of the more thoughtful ponderous tracks that weighs in some place between Biosphere and Demdike Stare.
What amazes me so much is the dynamism of his production. This isn't casual listening music although it is fairly accessible to anyone who digs thoughtful electronica. His tracks occasionally have an exploratory aquatic feel that still drinks heavily from chilled techno pastures but his progressive beat grids and unusual way with synth manipulation have him staking out his own unique territory. I can hear everything from flecks of old rave/D'n'B through to minimal innovators Kassem Mosse or Villalobos, old 'Phlex don Cylob or even the alarmingly idiosyncratic electro of Drexciya in various tracks from the first disc but a whole individual sonic world exists here, far beyond mere influences or fleeting incidental similarities.
Such a fluidly evolving and impossible to ignore collection is 'Mental Union', full of stylistic twists and turns - it puts me in a similar state of mind to last weeks Villalobos odyssey in that I'm constantly looking forward to the next piece, excited at the possibilities of where I'm going to be shunted to next in this all-enveloping aural cocoon he creates. So worth the wait...
9/10 Daniel Customer review, 26th July 2013
Aleksi Perala is an electronic musician that has been making music for a long while now, and at this point it's very apparent he's gotten quite good at it.
The first disc of the album features some very catchy and good braindance and some drum n bass, although it's the second disc that proves that Aleksi is a very special and unique artist.
The second disc features some very organic type percussion and some very well done synth work that creates music that is wholly original and really transports you to a different place. The percussion and the tuning-focused synths and instruments really creates an atmosphere, feeling and almost trance to the listener that creates music that I've never really heard before. The sound is very difficult to put into words and you really should just listen to it. (It kinda reminds me of some of the "Mood Bells" stuff that Cylob was doing a while back, but Mental Union is something very much its own.)
Just because the second disc is so good (and better) than the first, doesn't mean that the first disc isn't great electronic music that is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. I particularly like the transition of "Moonstone" to "Leap Through Time", all very well done.
Mental Union is great for anybody who wants to delve deeper into what can be done with electronic music, and anyone who just likes good music. It's extremely enveloping and it's hard to pull your ears away from it for a long while.
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