Zbigniew Karkowski Le Depeupler (with Kaspar T. Toeplitz)

[CFET; 2000]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: avant-garde, electronic experimentalism
Others: Kevin Drumm, Pita

73-minute long electronic excursions are a hard thing to think about, but, that's what you're paying me for. They generally blend together, one after the next, into a highly granular lump of mordant inhumanity. The audience is understandably miniscule. This led me to wonder who I'd even be reviewing this for. Fans of the genre are at least peripherally aware of it and can get to it easily enough. So, that leaves this review as a masturbatory/self-aggrandizing exercise, a sermon to the uninformed masses, or a complete waste of time. Hopefully it's the second, or my salary is going to waste.

As for how this album sounds, well, you can probably guess at the over-arching theme. For the uninitiated, this album is relatively harsh drone, or at least when it's played loud. That's to say this isn't your grandpa's Basinski Edison cylinder. I listen to something like this nearly every day, and I can't say I keep the totality of many of them upstairs. And I probably won't with this one. But, the thing making this one more memorable is the pacing. In a CATEGORY like drone, well known for its plodding pace of dynamism, it's shocking to note something that develops slowly; almost 20 minutes elapse before you're fully engulfed in sound. Even more remarkable is how evident it is that these dudes didn't just go eat a sandwich as they let the sounds mature, but instead painstakingly shifted the music continuously through to fruition. So much so that I'm hesitant to call this drone, let's just call it electronic avant-garde. Alternatively crushing and piercing, the music is constantly inventive, at least in a localized sense, and absolutely captivates me. Beyond Kevin Drumm's virtuosic skill and innovation, I'd be hard pressed to name someone on par with what we've got here. This is a whole new definition of beauty, folks. Dig it.

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