Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Rene Hell - The Canon (Agents of Chaos, 2011)

Rene Hell’s The Canon EP might be Jeff Witscher’s most spastic and “busy” work to date; on this cassette he ditches the ambient aspect of his music almost entirely, instead focusing on cyclical repetition and dense clusters of sound, bordering on glitch at times.
The opener, “Variation Third” seems to be the closest to his usual oeuvre as Rene Hell, with a simple synthesizer sequence relentlessly repeating its way through all sorts of small bleeps and bloops with massive, bassy drones that can almost be disguised as melody rising and falling every now and then. At the end, the piece’s structure is almost toppled by a cluster of rapidly played (or programmed to be rapidly played) synth piano notes, which continues into the second track, “Melody for Arkham”. What is characteristic of this tape (and maybe of Witscher’s latest work in general) is the intentional “fakeness” of sound – one can tell it’s a synthesized piano from a mile off and Rene Hell isn’t trying to hide this fact. Quite the contrary – he’s taking refuge from the rest of the scene with his super-polished and super “fake” sound. “Melody for Arkham” is fast and raving mad, with superfast clusters of piano notes creating a ripped, irregular melody which brings to mind La Monte Young’s A Well Tuned Piano on amphetamines. “Med School Prince” follows the same path, this time blending the jagged piano madness with massive, gradiental drones, reaching almost disorienting heights. The closing “Nazi Love Motel II” can be best considered as “whimsical” – simple, repeating piano motive (oh, that fakeness of sound!) is joined by high-pitched whining and playful glitches resembling the sound you make when trying to imitate a horse (not the neighing, the other sound).
The Canon is a nice little addition to Rene Hell’s discography. The music on the tape is not life changing, or extremely atmospheric. Instead, Jeff’s trying to craft his own kind of hyper-real, maniacal minimalism played through the prism of skewed IDM and glitch, falling somewhere between La Monte Young, James Ferraro and Autechre. Rene Hell’s idiosyncratic sound is further represented in his art, merging fashion world and celebrity imagery with abstract shapes, random dots and commas and cryptic track titles.
Link via The Radiant Now


thenamesthastpell said...

interesting stuff, thoughtful thoughts

tentas said...

very nice