Aleph – From Chaos to Cosmos (King Deluxe)

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In 1945, Argentinean author George Luis Borges published a short story called The Aleph. In the story, the Aleph is a point in the universe which contains all other points, an infinite vantage point from which all angles of the universe are visible simultaneously, “without distortion, overlapping or confusion.” Aleph has a number of other meanings as well, notably in early language and in mathematical set theory, all of which carry some connotation of the infinite. Infinity is a dominant theme in From Chaos to Cosmos, the debut EP by Serbian born producer Aleph. Track titles like “Theatre of Matter’ and “Melt of Time’ connote the cosmic and metaphysical aesthetic of the CD.

Sonically, the music is almost unrelentingly dense. Hip-hop is a definite ancestor but the album pulls in a rich gamut of electronic genres including dubstep, electro and house. The result is warped, unquantised electronica that draws on a similar sonic palette to many artists on the Brainfeeder label (Flying Lotus’ 2010 Cosmogramma is a definite reference point). Where the album is at its strongest it moves organically and unexpectedly, as in the stuttering beats and 8-bit game sounds of opening track “Omerta’. Where it is at its weakest it gets trapped in dogged grooves that repeat but never grow.

Throughout the release there is a sense of elasticity in regard to time. Unquantised beats, for those unfamiliar with the term, are those that fall slightly late or early on the pulse, they eschew the metric accuracy achievable by computers and instead opt for human imprecision. Aleph uses this technique to hypnotic effect, stretching and compressing time around the gravitational pull of the kick drum.

From the mosaic-like cover art by Tim Hodkinon to the mosaic-like construction of the music From Chaos to Cosmos concerns itself with intersecting lines of music and genre. Whether these lines are visible “without distortion, overlapping or confusion” is up for debate, but to my taste the most exciting moments are when they are not, when the cosmos is downplayed and the chaos is allowed a little more room to breathe.

Henry Andersen

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