Electroton is a new label from Germany specialising in an updated form of Mille Plateaux-ian clicks n’ cuts, that produced by Sheffield duo snd, or more recently that of artists on the raster noton label. Note the lower case: electroton’s logo is also in sans serif lowercase font, minimally displayed alongside artist names, album and track titles on miniature transparent dvd cases, housing unlabelled 3″ CDs. It’s gorgeous packaging, even the press releases are attractive, and wholly appropriate for machine music of this sort; it’s a shame raster noton got there first.
Imitation is the finest form of flattery; these three electroton releases nonetheless have enough originality to recommend them. On beat, poratz (aka Patrizio Orsini) performs a playful form of micro-techno, building fun, funky 4/4 sketches from tiny samples and glitch rhyhms, skittery machine noise slipping over warm Jelinek-esque hiccups, all tethered by a heavy bass presence. Incite’s (Kera Nagel and Andre Aspelmeier) iconicity offers larger, more free-form pieces, favouring dark, abrasive tones and marrying a gothic bleakness to the filigree electronics. An industrial gloom dominates, a heaviness, which is less easily enjoyed than the dances of poratz. Best of all is is v4w.enko’s (Evgen Vaschenko) snd, which functions more as an aural demonstration disc than music, so sharp are the tones and extreme the dynamics. In this manner he’s close to Ryoji Ikeda, particularly in his ability to wrench real beauty from near-painful sine tones. The final ‘dns’ (all track titles are variants on the letters ‘s’, ‘n’ and ‘d’) is stunning, shimmering crystal glissandi and sheets of softened fax purr flitting across the stereo spectrum, performing a sonic vacuum to the eardrums. Be warned: the CDs are extremely fragile, ketem’s colour was unfortunately broken by my daughter before I could hear it.