Russian electronic fun on Dars Records.
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- Ask Me: What Is It? by Ili
8/10 Roger Batty 21st July 2007
This is a Russian project that very much dwells in Retro IDM; in particular this brings to mind Plaid work up to about the point of 2001’s double figures. This has the same love of Synth medioes that are child-like, playful and simple, danced around by and surrounded by often big beat patterns that manage to be inventive, playful with nods towards Hip-Hop bombastics. There’s also the odd slide into darker wonky sounding electronics, but these are moments are out number by the more quirky computer game soundtrack and child melodic playfulness. Though not the most original album your likely to come across it does have a certain charm and glint all of its own, worth a look if you enjoy old IDM.
8/10 Dutton Hauhart
From the depths of Russia (seriously, look up Chelyabinsk) comes a fascinating release consisting of sticky, Autechre-inspired IDM and glitch. Though perhaps not the most unique or cutting-edge project to be classified as such, what ILI has accomplished with 'Ask Me: What Is It?' is nevertheless arresting in its abstract, polyrhythmic quality. Both melancholic and otherworldly, this brand of experimental electronic music is rich with melodic timbres and finely manufactured sounds. Whether limping along like an automaton on crutches ('Bels Uule'), or perhaps skipping and tripping down stairs instead ('For Your' and 'Fhrul'), the beats on 'Ask Me: What Is It?' are never straightforward. These entropic cadences are like chaotic streams of pebbles - cascading, falling and splashing among rocks and sand, rippling and reverberating like water. The fractured beats are overlaid with lush, breathy atmospherics ('Gate To Siberia'), disembodied vocal snippets ('Kren' and 'Recuno'), and insectile grooves that crawl above, below and through finely molded minutiae ('Terevaz' and 'Sabl'). It is deeply penetrating, psychedelic music. With each successive listen, 'Ask Me: What Is It?' becomes synonymous with ILI's attentiveness to motion and detail. Concerning these attributes, the album remains steadfast in its glitchy dedication. Insect metaphors continue to be appropriate in describing the contrasting delicate-versus-substantial elements of the music's varying inflections, whether melodic or dissonant. From the trancey synth stabs of the title track, to the infusion of far eastern flavors in both sound and structure ('Massa Ra'), ILI offers a product that delivers guaranteed mind-bending satisfaction, but little more. 'Ask Me: What Is It?' feels soulless, and it is anyone's guess if that is intentional or not.