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Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Crispy crème

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Composed of three discs, with 36 artists performing as many different tracks, German label Mille Plateaux’s Clicks & Cuts 2 represents the mother lode of crispy electronic minimalism of the moment.

Don’t use the word ambient to describe this impetuous, edgy, physically challenging music. It has as persistent a heartbeat — arrhythmic and nonlinear as it might be — as dance floor mixes traveling at 10 times the speed, all while creating ripples of sensation in the sweetest part of your head. These are the sounds of synapses firing, of neurons colliding, of an (intra)psychic sonic language that long ago gave up the need for words. Nonlexical information is the new poetry.

Last year’s Clicks & Cuts (spread over two CDs) featured several of this subgenre’s leading producers: Finland’s Pansonic and Vladislav Delay, Frank Bretschneider, Pole, Ester (aka Thomas) Brinkmann and Wolfgang Voigt (who records under many different monikers, including All and Gas) from Germany and Kit Clayton and Sutekh from the United States.

While loaded with talent, that compilation seemed curiously undercooked. It might have been best used as a discovery process, then left behind while you seek out full-length recordings by those musicians who already had them. Not so with Clicks & Cuts 2.

Each of the three discs stands out as a full program. They are filled with virile, subterranean soundscapes (tracks by All and Full Swing); crackly, radioactive drones (by Richard Chartier and Mikael Stavostrand) and digital fragments that almost cohere into conventional song structures (courtesy of snd, Farben and Andrea Tilliander).

Other standout cuts are provided by Auch, Fennesz and Geeez N’ Gosh — aka Atom Heart, Senor Coconut, one-half of the duo Flanger and Uwe Schmidt (real name) in his other noms de electronique.

No matter about names, titles or further explanations. Listening is the new talking. Clicks & Cuts 2 awaits your ears.

E-mail Walter Wasacz at


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