[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
First things first, print out the documentation included with this release. Got it in hand? Good. Now press play. This is a conceptual piece of audio, a manifesto of sorts that aims to do what DVA have always done which is push boundaries. This band are one of the few out there that I can confidently state are getting things done, you can feel the work being accomplished. Never ones to do anything conventionally, this first new album (most definitely an album, doubters, make no mistake) in twenty one years comes exclusively in the form of a USB card. It is further proof of what has been known for years by their fans: pure technology is an enhancement of man’s abilities, something which is to be explored not ignored.
Still reading along as this plays out? Gold star. “The Konstructor” is not about the re-birth of DVA no matter how many reviews will say otherwise. This track is a carrier wave for Adi Newton’s continual fixation on the ramifications of our computerized age. Every sound is delicately and meticulously placed to enhance the atmospherics; in a manner very similar to some of the Russian futurism this record celebrates we are enveloped inside the music.
Everything within our own physical sphere we may define as ourselves, or reality if you want to make the obvious jump in logic. Whatever lies beyond is undefined, tantalizing and continually labelled as dangerous in modern times. But DVA won’t stay where it is safe, oh no, they’re much too inquisitive for that. You see, they’ve included a series of films designed to put these compositions into a context which the naked eye can perceive. I personally enjoyed the fourth and final clip assembled for the song “Kabaret 13” most. With it’s continual barrage of shapes, colors and strobe bursts it took on a life all it’s own; I swear it was talking to me, some kind of message was encoded and my mind still hasn’t managed to make sense of what it saw.
If you own this, you’re no doubt struck by the exquisite design on display. This card is so thin, even Apple would not dare to revise or update it’s parameters. I continually marvel that all this data was wrangled into such a tiny amount of space! However, for all the care and detailing which went into ‘Clock2’ as a release even greater care was exercised in the selection of who outside DVA were entrusted with the remixes. Newton corralled some very heavy hitters to do these. Uwe Schmidt, Frank Bretschneider and Robin Rimbaud are names anyone who collects arcane and eclectic electronic music should know. Others who remix could learn a thing or two from these guys, Rimbaud in particular, who transforms “Rayonist” into a twenty-three minute dark ambient epic and whose own project Scanner remains largely underneath the radar. He’s conjured up a terrifying storm which has no definition to it and is therefore completely disorienting. Put those headphones on!
Schmidt rolls “De-Konstructor” out onto the floor, extending and accentuating the hints given up by the original with his own brand of club-based misanthropy. It’s almost as though he decided to channel the long-deceased Lassigue Bendthaus on here, some of the progressions demonstrate where he could go with his best known pseudonym if he ever chose to resurrect it. The sub-bass is gigantic, the rhythms inhumane, the words twisted and broken apart. Bretschneider reduces the already minimal “Kabaret 13” to barely a pulse at points with his mix, stripping out even the tiniest glint of melody to reveal a monochrome landscape writhing under the assault of a surgeon’s arsenal. He, too, packs plenty of sub-bass into his take except that there’s no deliberate order to it. It’s chaotic indeed, magnetics won’t do you much good in a place like this.
Not to be outdone, DVA themselves revise “The Konstructor” into a lean, decisive exercise which a purist would about have a heart attack over. The focus and brooding menace of this long-standing act remains intact, their penchant for making connections to both the future and the past simultaneously has not diminished one iota. In the time since they last appeared, the internet firmly took root with the concepts of artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life losing their comedic sheen. DVA sound like DVA, their style largely remains as they left it and if anything has only become more intense. The precision on here is unequaled and the approach unequivocally academic; the research continues and here’s to more being revealed in due course which reminds me… finished reading yet?