5 out of 5
Label: Computer Club
Produced by: Dave Burraston?
Frankly, I would’ve doubted this review upon my first listen of ALG 118B. I started in on Computer Club’s ‘experimental’ releases on the faith of the label’s attachment to CPU, which has been the best, most consistent thing in electronic music since, like, classic Rephlex… which is what CPU’s label owners set out to (idealistically) imitate. I fig’d: if Computer Club is related, can I go wrong?
NYZ’s (Dave Burraston) nigh-beatless, repetitive ALG 118B really, really made me ask that question. But I didn’t have to go to far to convince myself there was something here, I just had to make me way through the album to note how purposeful its construction seems. So it wasn’t that I relistened to the cassette a million and one times to beat myself into praise; the kernel was there, rustling in the bottom of the bag, and it popped at the end of track 13. And it’s super duper likely that my read on this album, which is what pushed me into a glowing rating, is a complete misfire, and not at all what the artist intended, but hey: such is the ability of music, eh?
ALG 118B, to me, is a descent into depression, or perhaps more favorably, contemplation. This is best captured in a trio of tracks named Creativalizationistizm, which start out with playful samples and a bouncy bloop, then transition into something with a bit darker of a bite, stripping out rhythm halfway through, giving way to its conclusion – ‘We Will Rebuild Your Life’ – with sounds of distortion, and broken sounds. Initially, this seems part and parcel to the wandering happy-go-lucky nature of the preceding tracks, but after this point, the album slides emotionally southward from harsh drone into zoned-out etherea. Somewhat also sealing the deal on a structure is the way the concluding track is named similarly to, and has a similar structural style to, the opener, but both act as appropriate bookends for the music chronologically closest to them: SCL::ISR (the opener) is shiny; SCL::RTI is dark.
When you further consider the way the album shifts from clearly “electro” beeps into icier ambience, and how Creativalizationistizm’s samples talk of repetition – a big musical theme here – and ‘no work today’ – there might be a larger conceptual picture contemplating the lack of newness in the scene.
I dunno. You can tell me its noise; you can point to the long, long stretches of looping notes and tell me it bores you; I wouldn’t fault you either way. For my ears, like some of the best music experiences I’ve had, something clicked which made me “hear” the album – though admittedly not right away – in a very immersive fashion, allowing me to continue to have that faith in the CPU and CPU-adjacent stable.