Give Dave Huismans credit for this: his albums may fall short of brilliance, but with each one he at least finds a new way to do so. In the last five years, his work under his 2562 moniker mutated from restrained, minimalist dubstep (2009’s Unbalance) to disco-informed twitch-bass (2011’s Fever) to ambient techno infused with Middle Eastern atmosphere and field recordings (2012’s Air Jordan EP)—concepts that promised more than they delivered while still finding at least some prime real estate on dancefloor playlists. You could move to it, but good luck finding a real emotional connection inside those rhythmic lines.
This time, 2562’s method involves drawing in a glut of no wave, new age, coldwave, and whatever synthesized washes of overcast dystopian malaise he can bolt to a solid 4/4. That’s given The New Today more of a human feeling than previous works—even if said human feeling is shot through with a tense dread. But it’s still hard to shake the feeling that it’s one of those clinical exercises more focused on refining sounds than making them resonate as something actually alive. Listen to those six-minute builds crawl to a crest, key in to the vague bristle of an abstracted foreboding, but don’t expect any moments of revelation. It’s ambient techno at room temperature.
It can be appealing in a purely scientific sense to go through and catalog each track’s tactile qualities. Maybe it’s because it follows a space-station hum of a cliché-riddled ambient opener (“Arrival”), but “Terraforming” quickly jumps out as a high point, nearly 10 minutes of giant-machine startup-process churn. Unexpected yet subtle intrusions of new age synth throw off the mood in an intriguing way, and elsewhere on the record contrasting elements jump out—light pianos in the pistons-and-steam clutter of “Cauldron”, or the waning moments of “Vibedoctor” where treated vibraphones start frantically spilling all over one another.
And yet the music is still distant, no matter how up-close the beats feel. Once the songs become familiar, the pleasures disappear along with the surprises. It’s frustrating that Huisman is so skilled at crafing individual sounds but unable to put them all together. Someday, there might be a 2562 full-length with all this record’s elusive textures, the unpredictability of Fever‘s mutant-disco rhythms, and the deep warmth of Unbalance. In the meantime, it’s another case of try again, fail again, fail better.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/14giVwY