[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
The last time I was in a paint store I couldn’t help noticing the machines agitating said cans; now imagine those running all night, then picture how it’d look the next day after all those cans had slipped out of alignment and exploded. You’d no doubt see very bizarre patterns and combinations never thought possible. This should give you a fairly good idea of what Akwalek’s new album is like; no one shade takes dominance, the only reaction you’ll be having is one of glee because the music he’s written doesn’t have a contemporary. This guy is operating out in the wilderness where there are no phones, no tablets, no signals. Off the grid? Oh you could certainly regard this as that sort of undertaking… one set of hands hacking away at the code with a portable generator insistently humming in the background.
Akwalek are part of Xtraplex’s original roster, he was there when all this kicked off in 2011. I’ve since found his two earlier records but that EP he did 5+ years ago is where we met. While the label has expanded and continued on it’s path to map out sounds for the geniculate ganglion, the one behind the fantastical excursions on ‘Ektoplasmik Boor Selekt’ has been biding his time. I didn’t know if he’d ever re-surface but here he is. Unannounced and roaring out of this chokepoint for morphic resonances. Don’t feel too badly if at first this record knocks you on your ass trying to follow what is going on, outside of it’s creator there’s no way anyone could.
Each piece Akwalek have given us is stuffed to capacity with breaks, segues, drones, beats, effects, processing and one of them even has a media sample crammed in for good measure. He doesn’t seem to have the patience for long-form composition but don’t go thinking this is some kind of scattered offering, rather, his work showcases incisive songwriting over the random flashes of technology that usually dazzle the audience. The artist would like it if we’d pay attention and soak up all the dynamic colors his palette is comprised of. Some won’t bother to spend the time to get to know this release and probably that’s for the best, Warp no doubt have something new to fight over in the download queue.
When one track finishes the next shoves it’s way into position and then jumps down your ears; I get the sensation of leaping from one plateau to the next on an ever-increasing uphill grade. The view becomes more spectacular with each transition while the surrounding terrain reveals an immaculate backdrop of detailed programming that could only be the result of several years worth of tireless labor; every petal shaded precisely according to the sun’s position and each needle on that tree depicted down to it’s impermeable membrane, to call this a work of unbridled talent seems an understatement.
Those who look into the labyrinth of ‘Ektoplasmik Boor Selekt’ surely won’t come away let down.