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BECKER, RASHAD - Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. 1

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: PAN Records PAN 34
Release Year: 2013
Note: debut full-length releases by the famous cutting engineer from Berlin, who excites with deeply surrealistic music, bizarrely morphed structures, pulses & noises beyond words & styles; "a masterpiece of focussed non-referential electronic environments"; comes in the typical artful silkscreened pvc sleeve with artwork by Bill Kouligas
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €25.00

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" 'Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. I' is a devastating display of potential which ensures a journey unlike any you have encountered. In the vast world of electronic music, where sounds, signifiers and gesture's are recontextualized to a numbing degree it is increasingly rare and refreshing to encounter a release as perspective distorting as the debut full length release by Rashad Becker. The album is a masterpiece of focussed non-referential electronic environments. It is is both warm, alien, paranoid and exhilarating. Sounds are stretched in the most unusual manner, foreign bodies are frequent and the structure is simply bewildering. Split into 'Themes and Dances', the 8 tracks guide the listener through Becker's brave new world. Despite being entirely synthetic there are sounds which appear like a distortion of the world around us, on occasion 'voice-like' sounds are present, elsewhere there appears the sound of cicada's, only these cicada's are made of mercury and swim through time. The end result is beautiful in a way only a unique work of art can be. PAN is proud to present the outside from within.
The LP is mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, pressed on 140g vinyl. It is packaged in a pro-press color jacket which itself is housed in a silkscreened pvc sleeve with artwork by Bill Kouligas." [label info]


"Rashad Becker is a name most folks are probably more used to seeing on OTHER people's records, he is, and has been for the last decade plus, THEE go-to guy to have your record cut for vinyl. A master of his craft, who is able to produce stunning results in the analog realm, massive bass, deep layered sounds, lush and spacious, gritty and grimy, Becker was often the last step in a meticulous process, resulting in some of the most incredible records of the last few years. Check your collection and we guarantee you a handful were cut and/or mastered at Dubplates & Mastering, where Becker has been plying his trade for the past fifteen years. And we'll be the first to admit that technical mastery does not necessarily translate into creative genius, but in the case of Traditional Music Of Notational Species, Vol. 1, an argument could definitely be made that Becker's talent is not limited to the mastering lab.
In fact, Traditional Music is far from traditional, and is quite difficult to describe, although a faithful long time aQ customer already proclaimed it his record of the year hands down, and we have to say we're inclined to agree. Split into two sides, the first, 'Dances', the second 'Themes', the record opens with a dense constantly shifting landscape of grinding textures, mutating electronics, synthy squelch, deep rumbles, skittery rhythmic pulsations, the vibe is almost playful, but that playfulness is definitely tempered by a dark shadowy moodiness, it's wild and loose, free and abstract, melodies blossom and fragment, collapsing into swirling tangles, it's just on the verge of noise, but instead, remains textural and atmospheric, almost like a modern day Perrey & Kingsley, deconstructed, the various elements recombined a some mutant modern minimal electroacoustic experimental electronica. That pretty much sets the groundwork for the first side, we're reminded of some past aQ faves like Roly Porter's Aftertime, or any recordings by Ben Frost, this sounds less like 'music' and more like some avant sound design, "Dances II" expands on the opener, weaving what sounds like fragmented vocals, and dark spidery melodies, into something strangely brooding, wreathed in a caustic cloud of flitting molecules of crumbling noise, and burbling underwater shimmer, all seemingly digitized and then corrupted, processed into something approaching a much more angular and aggressive Oval, overlapping layers, stuttering non-rhythms, it's expansive and cinematic, but at the same time dizzyingly dense, driven by thick rib cage rattling swells of low end thrum. The sound grows gradually more industrial, sounds slip backwards and swoop and swirl, a sea of squelches pinging from speaker to speaker, buried Morse code melodies, lots of hiss and hum sculpted into sheets of dark energy, and a blissed out barrage of blackened crumble, building to a near psychedelic squall, before closing out the side with a dark rhythmic sprawl, that touches on the hauntological electronica of Demdike Stare and the like, but so much more sinister, and woozily warped, a mad scientist reinterpretation, recasting the moody lope, as something feral and fracture, peppered with deep sub-bass pulsations, and drowsily fluctuating rhythms, it's like Stockhausen jamming with Demdike Stare, which is about as great, and as fucked up, as it sounds.
The flipside, made up of four 'themes', dials back some of the crunch and buzz, opening with a dreamy field of alien electronics, fluttering and flitting, still gritty and crunchy, the sounds organic and analog, rough around the edges, but deftly woven into choir of electro-chirps and woozy moaning chordal swells, laced with burst of laser beam FX, but then a super heavy bass crunch creeps in, and it's stunning, it's meaner, and more brutal, and more physical that most dubstep drops, but with a totally different effect in this context, adding some seriously sinister heft, but before you know it, it's disappeared, leaving just a field of electronic firefly flutter. The rest of the 'Themes' play out like some mysterious soundtrack to a documentary about alien life, you can almost imagine the camera panning over strange sprawls of gnarled landscape, or drifting through the bottomless abyss of some alien sea, the electronics often sounding like the chitter of insects, again like some twisted field recording captured elsewhere in the galaxy, slipping from hushed skitter to epic avant kosmische and back again, culminating in what sounds like some warped choral piece, a gnarled choir of 'voices', sounding like field recordings captured in some Victorian mental institution, and then processed into something even more warped, all laid over a roiling sea of electronic gristle and industrial clatter, all held together by sheets of blurred buzz and ominous insectoid thrum. Strange stuff for sure, but in its own weird way, hauntingly and confusionally lovely.
Cut and mastered by Becker himself of course. Pressed on 140 gram vinyl, and like all Pan releases, housed in a super striking, screen printed heavy plastic PVC sleeve." [Aquarius Records]