nsi., Eitherway


Painting by Aleksandra Rdest

[Non Standard Productions]


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More and more, the recordings of Max Loderbauer and Tobias Freund’s Non Standard Institute seem to parallel the ineffable and absorbing audio artifacts they namecheck from time to time — records like Cluster’s Großes Wasser, Pharaoh Sanders’ Thembi, or This Heat’s This Heat. Like those records, their latest EP sounds as though conceived through exploratory tinker-now, edit-later studio sessions where the ultimate goal isn’t necessarily a new record. All the same, their latest eccentric collection of fascinating, too-brief compositional sketches is a richly satisfying listen. Cut from the same cloth as the track LWE hosted as a free mp3 this month, you could imagine Eitherway as something like last year’s RA-podcasted Mutek set, but parsed into discrete vignettes.

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Clocking in at a lean two-and-a-half minutes, “Scale” opens the record with a droning melody loop and an accumulation of thwacking percussion that sounds for all the world like hail falling on a windshield. “Cabinet” quickly redirects, a sort of eerie, abbreviated take on electro-acoustic Nordic jazz (Supersilent’s “6.1” sticks out as a point of reference). Its fragile set piece of sci-fi textures, insect-like drum machine debris, and faint snatches of piano is mainly a showcase for the modular synth that Loderbauer plays in plaintive, theremin-like moans. Later on, the woozy “Uncertainty” covers similar terrain, but with a retro palette and see-sawing momentum that verge on techno, though at some remove from the genre. Coming a bit closer, the restless title track sets galloping snares and the hot zaps of something credited as a “random voltage generator” on a nighttime chase through an ambient field of absent chimes. Likewise, the propulsive “Forward” boasts a ferocious drum pattern, but its tightly-wrapped, repetitive piano loops slide so dizzily out of sync that calling it a DJ tool seems like a cruel dare.

The record closes with “Tapped,” reprising the hurled beats of “Scale” beneath a shimmying, free-form warble best compared to a pliant sheet of metal shaken over a mic. Granted, some of that may read like a bit of a chore, but for all its analogue equipment-tweakery and unscripted musical interaction, Eitherway steers clear of the hazards of a gear-fetish geek-out or a hair-down jam. Luscious sound design and tonal variety have a lot to do with it, but the real hero is the duo’s meticulous editing. We’re whisked through six tracks in just twenty-two minutes, the pieces given only enough time to establish a palette, a pattern, and a groove before the curtains close to make way for the next track. As the duo’s press releases proclaim, it’s a “non standard” way to produce music, but it does manage to captivate — spellbind, even. It’s that old showbiz trick, I guess: always leave them wanting more.

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nsi., Eitherway | musicu.be. featured blog posts  on February 8, 2010 at 11:21 PM

[…] even. It’s that old showbiz trick, I guess: always leave them wanting more.Original post: nsi., Eitherway0 //LinkWithinCodeStart var linkwithin_div_class="linkwithin_hook"; var linkwithin_site_id = 24965; […]

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