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- Vanilla Call Option by Rene Hell
9/10 Ant Staff review, 11 October 2013
‘Vanilla Call Option’ is another glimpse into the restless creative mind of Jeff Witscher. His third full album as Rene Hell, not taking into account split albums with Oneohtrix Point Never and Pete Swanson. It’s easy to see why PAN (previous albums were on Type) have introduced him into the fold. This record conjures the spirit of sonic adventure present in early electronic music/ tape music and music concrete.
There’s zero melody present here rather machines communicating in their own language of bleeps, zaps and pulses that warp twist and fold in on themselves. The sounds of modular synthesizers dominate but there are tiny occasional snatches of piano and strings that hold it back from being entirely synthetic. Think everything from Pierre Schaeffer, Bernard Parmegiani to Keith Fullerton Whitman, Hecker, Ryoji Ikeda, Rashad Becker and even bits of recent Oneohtrix Point Never as can be heard on ‘Var_Len’ with it’s layering of vocal fragments.
Even on my third listen I’m finding the amount of ideas and dynamic shifts difficult to absorb as some of it is pretty crackers like some insane future Tom and Jerry cartoon programme on acid. The machines sound incredibly vibrant, alive and brilliantly deranged. Top drawer, slightly quirky electronic music that’s essentialy great art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
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