This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
White Noise: Ital – Hive Mind

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ital – Hive Mind

Label: Planet Mu

Doesn’t Matter (If You Love Him)


First Wave

Daniel Martin-McCormick, aka Ital, has got quite a history behind him. From his beginnings with the group Black Eyes to Sex Worker’s indefinable Dance releases, he’s always had a powerfully independent voice. Having spent some time recently releasing on Not Not Fun and 100% Silk, his debut LP as Ital takes a very different route to his punchier early singles, presenting four long-form pieces (and a short one) that take the listener on mesmeric journeys through shifting soundscapes.

Ital is a real export of the internet’s role in music, and has spoken very interestingly on the subject in a recent interview with The Quietus. “The internet has become this place for evil,” he says, going on to explain that Hive Mind was born as a response to the “crushing aspect of our society” and “the glacial onslaught of the world we’ve made for ourselves.” Interestingly, then, the first track here samples Lady Gaga, who could justifiably be named the most enormous product of the internet thus far in the celebrity sphere. In Doesn’t Matter (If You Love Him) the titular vocal sample is looped to a nauseous, inhuman degree, and it almost feels as if Martin-McCormick is reducing Gaga to a droning electronic loop with a toneless, generic quality that aurally symbolises the same depthless anonymity of most music born from the internet generation. If we take it away from the more philosophical angle the sample is clearly indebted to the recent rise of Footwork, but the composition is firmly rooted in the world of House. A warm bass loop belies well-paced percussive textures and a huge host of glittering synth accents that swoop across the track magnificently. Although there’s a lot of repetition here there’s a keen sense of pacing throughout (as well as a curiously relevant Whitney Houston sample), and clean micro-edits ensure that the length of these songs never undermine their intentions.

All this seems to put Martin-McCormick on a level with many Dance producers who, when putting out a long-player, try to do something different; to use dance styles and tropes to create something that can no longer be danced to. The tracks now serve as cerebral journeys through twitching Electronic soundscapes, with scattered ideas and stylistic references cohering into a sound that is both heady and challenging. It’s not an easy thing to pull off, but most of these tracks really work. After Doesn’t Matter (If You Love Him) ends tellingly with Gaga’s voice looped and crushed into an uncomfortable, inhuman sonic mulch, second cut Floridian Void provides a more laid-back slice of cosmic House. A solid kick-drum is the only constant here amidst a swirling mass of garbled voices, squealing synth deviations and lush pads. It’s a track that, like most on offer here, reveals its beauty slowly over careful repeated spins, allowing you to discern the moments when the clouds part and a gorgeous melody makes its slow way across the soundfield before receding back into the ether. Most of the reason that these moments are more obscure is the shear amount of layers here, but they rarely feel gratuitous, for example there’s no faulting the sharp snare that appears in the last few minutes of this second tune.

Privacy Settings is the central axis of these more lumbering House numbers, and it’s clearly the sonic black sheep. It’s about a third of the length of anything else on here, there’s no anchoring drum kick or pleasant synth melody to draw you in, and Ital ramps up the broken-audio rips and effects that he has always enjoyed implementing. It’s a menacing and disorientating tune with ghostly synths and threatening percussive snaps, and it seems the perfect analogue for Martin-McCormick’s alarming vision of today’s internet culture. As the track recedes, synths slowly morph into the sound of howling wolves, a well-chosen symbol for the power of machines; whether a vision of our internet use or electronic music production itself.

Fourth cut Israel opens with a barely audible monologue, overpowered by some of the sharpest beats on the record. The track has a great swing to it, with cosmic synths washing dramatically over well-structured percussive sequences. Even though these songs can feel repetitive at times, the moments where they deviate are always so impressive that it’s hard to mind. This is just the case on Israel, when hollow percussive bounces take centre-stage only to be effaced by too-bright synth streaks from around the 6-minute mark. These are the moments that open up over repeated listens, and highlight just how surprising and satisfying Ital can be as a producer. Final cut First Wave closes the album in stunning fashion, souping up the languid pace of Hive Mind into a decaying Disco number that combines bright synths and gloopy acid basslines with an enormous amount of canny micro-edits. It comes off as the album’s most overtly beautiful track, and will probably stay with you longest after it’s over.

Ital gives you a lot to think about and a lot to listen to with Hive Mind, but it’s not quite a perfect album. The track lengths mean that the LP lacks a certain dynamism, and while there is an abundance of ideas on show, perhaps they could have been employed more deftly to give these tracks a little more pace and excitement. Because these tunes are so densely layered they require quite a lot of time to fully absorb but their formidable length and lack of clear hooks mean it might not be an album you’re dying to return to. This isn’t helped by the fact that most of the tracks here are constructed in a fairly similar fashion, but if you listen with patience and allow the sounds to immerse you it’s easy to lose yourself. Apparently Ital constructs all his tunes on Audacity, so I’m willing to forgive some of the effects sounding a little flat because it’s remarkable just how many of them don’t; frequently individual sonic elements leap out at the listener just for being so crisp and interesting. If you can give Hive Mind some time you’ll find yourself rapturously hypnotised by these flowing tracks, and there’s a wealth of detail and innovation to explore once you’re in there.


Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home