Over the last ten years, Romanian electronic producer Octavian Justinian Uta (aka Yvat) has managed to release material at a dizzyingly prolific work rate, despite the fact that he balances his musical activities with a day job as a professional sound designer for Power FX. While earlier albums such as 2003’s Concert For Violin and Analogue Orchestra saw Uta working with heavily processed violins and analogue synth tones, subsequent releases such as 2006’s Chroma for G6PD have seen him moving towards more melodic, meticulously processed IDM landscapes. This latest album Kunzite – his first for Boltfish – arrives just a few months after his preceding Gliae collection for G6PD, and in many ways sees Uta picking up stylistically more or less from where that previous impressive album left off.
As with Gliae, the most obvious influential reference points here are Tri Repetae-era Autechre and Chris Clark’s earlier Warp material. With icy, highly detailed tracks such as ‘Augen Gneiss’ and ‘Syncline’ balancing sharp-edged, coiled and meticulously sculpted broken rhythms with the wash of forlorn melodic synth pads, the entire resulting hybrid rolls with a sense of underlying hip-hop swagger.
It’s precisely this soft / harsh dynamic that Uta explores further on tracks such as the delicate yet thorned ‘Corymb’ – while the accompanying synth melodies that lurk in the background are almost lulling, the foreground creeps, tics and buzzes with all manner of relentless digital edit trickery, seemingly threatening to explode into a breakcore storm at any given moment. While the level of sound design prowess going on here is extremely impressive, some listeners may find that Kunzite occasionally veers towards being slightly cold and unapproachable at points, a factor that’s partly down to the comparative lack of stylistic variation between the twelve tracks here.