We don't always extol the benefits of the humble CD in this vinyl obsessed culture but when you can fit almost 90 minutes of chopped and creepy onto one small disc you know that you are at least getting value for money. Here the mysterious EXM makes music that harks back to Autechre's LP 5 and those early Plaid albums we know you loved.
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- Modulus by exm
8/10 Ant Staff review, 27 July 2017
For those of you that are unaware, Touched Music is an electronic music label whose proceeds go to a great cause - Macmillan Cancer Support. For their latest offering, Netherlands based artist Jeroen Bax aka exm returns to the label with ‘Modulus’. Although he may be a new name to a lot of folk, he’s been pretty prolific, self-releasing stuff since 2010, so rest assured - this guy knows what he’s doing.
‘3i2’ opens the album with its intro like tuning into some deep space radio transmission. Once the dial is locked in, the track bubbles along with a liquid like flow in proper sci-fi, futuristic electronica style. ‘Wall’ moves with stuttering drums and glistening, fractured melodies then swerves as though it’s pushing against a force trying to suck it back into the speakers. ‘Octobre’ is dense and complex with many constantly mutating layers creating a soundscape that conjures images of large cybernetic lifeforms. The label have made comparisons to Autechre and I can definitely hear some ‘LP5’ and ‘Chiastic Slide’ flavours in ‘Ignatio’, while ‘5’ has wee bits of Monolith and Wisp in there somewhere. Comparisons aside, ‘Modulus’ is a restless, inventive album, often so dynamic it’s almost overwhelming, but just when you think the brain is being overloaded, these moments are countered with more chilled spaced out moments. The epic fifteen minute closing track 'Meltt' being a fine example of this where it crawls and snakes along fairly intensely at first and then melts and dissolves with luxurious, emotive sounds like an android daydreaming.
This is really accomplished stuff - if this style of forward thinking electronic music were as fashionable as all the retro backwards looking gear like Kosmische and Cold Wave, I'm sure you'd be hearing a lot more of exm.
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