Richard Devine returns after six years with his new album Sort/Lave. It sees the Atlanta, Georgia-based electronics whizz throwing up opposing textures using his custom built modular system. The pieces flit between sandpapery percussion and glorious ambience. The album was conceived and recorded over the last two years. Triple LP or CD on Timesig, a Venetian Snares imprint.
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The problem with “intelligent dance music” is that I’m never sure whether the person making it enjoyed making it. “Intelligent” is such a weird adjective to aspire to, particularly when it comes to art. Though it’s difficult to say just how much people do any more as the terms is lambasted almost as often as people use it.
Richard Devine has been in the IDM game for a very long time, releasing music since 1995, and releasing on Warp Records in 2000. No one really needed me to rehash the IDM debate at the top of this review but with SortLave, but as Devine is intentionally trying to kick against some of the confines of the genre he finds himself in it seemed useful. In speaking about its creation, Devine has stressed the fun he had in experimenting with his synthesizers, in creating new sounds he’d never heard before (though he’d probably have to pick them out for me). And maybe that’s why on listening to the album, it’s two of the electronic music’s most notorious tricksters that come to mind: Aphex Twin and Autechre.
Devine is just as apt and playing with rhythm and texture as those two tend to be. Just as apt and creating that disorienting jitteriness that so often lies at the heart of their tracks. The core beats never quite sits still, like a restless child. All the while a structured chaos whirrs all around. Like the world that restless child is part of.
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