Los Angeles’ Mem1 are Laura and Mark Cetilia, cellist and media artist respectively, who produce improv-based electroacoustic music of the itchy Max/MSP variety. As the album and track titles suggest, ‘+1′ finds them collaborating with nine individual artists over as many tracks, an impressive roster from the vanguard of minimalist digitalia.
Mem1 are at their finest when their collaborations foster a chameleon-like metamorphosis in both their own sound and approach. Of course, with a team such as this the variants are slight, but the Cetilias digest their partners’ influences, attitudes and styles with considerable appetite, and this works both ways. Jan Jelinek’s work is unrecognisable to those who grew up on his springy microhouse, and just as difficult to categorise, and the treated scrapes, tics and low-end rumbles that comprise his contribution here are as pleasingly elusive as Machinefabriek. ‘+Ido Govrin’ pairs aquatic drips with snails-pace cello bows, splitting these into multiple dialogues; ‘+RS-232’ gets lost in the woods, cicadas competing with a heavy bass thud, while ‘+Jeremy Drake’ brings birdcalls into a lower-case improv session, creaking along like Polwechsel. Frank Bretschneider’s piece is a highlight, which centres on a rich, flickering drone which evokes both live field recording and internal machine noise, a muffled bassline like the undersea dub of Raster Noton labelmate Senking; as is Steve Roden’s: minute activity so close as to cause claustrophobia, slowly building into an almost frantic level of activity, complete with surprise bass loop.