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Net Feature/ Craque: "Density Operator"

img  Tobias
Many have cursed the advent of techno and the predominance of the beat in popular electronic music, making it responsible for the dumbing-down of culture in general. That is a strangely ignorant position, as can easily be uncovered thanks to “Density Operator”.

And no, I am not talking about the scientifically tinged digital liner notes to this release, length-wise somewhere between a to-the-point album and an extended EP, which dotes on the opportunities resulting from PC-generated noises representing mathematical algorithms and notes that “everything in this world seems to be under pressure in order to extract the highest concentration of agility.” That, in itself, is not exactly a revelation anymore and even the author comes to the conclusion that it’s mostly “hollow words” in the end, inviting the interested to open their ears instead.

The invitation is gladly accepted, for what Craque, aka Matt Cooke-Davis, offers attentive listeners on “Density Operator” is an astutely quirky and emotionally intelligent journey encompassing influences from dub, electro, house, soundscape work and hiphop – an eclecticism maybe easier to understand when considering this man has worked as a DJ, producer and concert organisor, played in one-man-homestudio projects as well as improvisational groups and studied classical composition.

What is more suprising, then, is that his music neither sounds pretentious nor intellectually conceited. Quite on the contrary, these six tracks, as dark and foreboding as they may be, all have a remarkable lightness to them, which keeps them floating on a strip of air like a hovercraft speeding through the Channel.

On “Qubit String”, Cooke-Davies opens with trudging microsound percussion, jazzy basslines and melodic backwards-loops, then throws the wheel around and transforms the track into a groovy piece of shining pads, open atmospheres and an appealing slow-groove. “Entangled” allows his sampler to associate freely, while maintaining a subtle flow – a blueprint for an underground rap-session. And cinematic closer “Licht”, with its triphop references and echoing off-chords, has a sinister beauty, which releases its audience into the late-night drowsiness of metropolis and the soft crackling of a vinyl record.

On all tracks, contrasting elements meet without ever coming to the point of conflict. Which is nothing short of a miracle, with often more than five different layers of sound running in and out of sync most of the time. The explanation is simple: Cooke-Davis alignes the different inner clock rates by using beats as  discreet pacemakers. In the alien swing of his bizarre, expressionist paintings, the metallic dust turns towards the huge electro-magnet of Craque’s stumbling and stuttering algorhythms.

Which is not to say that Stadtgruen aren’t taking somewhat of a risk with this release”. But in its heart, “Density Operator”, as experimentally rooted as it may be, is an accessible album, which may attract more people to the new music scene than supposedly smart intellectual essays.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Stadtgruen Netlabel
Homepage: Craque

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