Unknown – Unseen Series I

5 out of 5

Label: Analogical Force

Produced by: Carlos Koschitzky (mastered by)

Analogical Force’s “Unseen” series: creating a guessing game in which an unnamed creator delivers an EP of material – four tracks in this case. These kinds of releases are tricky, because it invites a flurry of “sounds like so and so!” comparisons, which can either be favorable – i.e. “it’s actually my favorite artist, X!” – or don’t-give-it-a-chance critical, i.e. “sounds like someone trying to sound like my favorite artist, X!”

It’s easy for such a release to fall either way; that is: it can be hard to judge it on its own merits. And I’d say the subsequent Unseen entry, which I heard first, had exactly that problem. But this initial Unseen Series solves for it rather well, by just not sounding exactly like anything else. Of course, there are the usual notes there, with a funky Squarepusher low-end kicking most tracks off, the slightly more “musical” focus of an artist like µ-Ziq, and nods to the Rephlex stable scattered around in various effects, but at no point did I have one of those standalone “this sounds like” thoughts, and while I was gettin’ down with the varying beats, our unseen creator would be busy preparing a surprise for me, twisting funk into a sudden synth freakout on Axiom12, morphing electro track Herald into a glitched out 80s Sega Genesis jam (and this works, I swear), or adding handclaps to closing house track Hr¢lfr for a particularly organic vibe.

The overwhelming drive here was a sense of fun; music first over IDM showmanship or trying too hard to not sound like something, making the enjoyment of Unseen Series I not the usual “unknown artist” guessing game, but the pure distraction of the compositions. Yes, that means it’d be great to know who’s behind the boards, though at the same time, the set is so durable that it doesn’t need that, superseding identity in a way, where it’s just great being able to listen to it. (But, I mean, if you do want to tell me who it is…)