Dataplex [2001-05] (Raster-Noton) CD
Ryoji Ikeda is often touted as Japan’s leading exponent of post-digital minimalism, and while true, such highfallutin descriptions don’t begin to hint at the exhilarating pleasure of listening to his precisely machined music. Though it’s exactingly constructed, the effect of Ikeda’s music is immediate. Working with the tiniest sonic minutiae, often veritable pinpricks of electronic sound, Ikeda crafts some seriously heavy tracks. If fellow minimal sound artist and Raster-Noton founder Carsten Nicolai (aka noto, aka alva.noto) is post-techno’s funkmaster supreme, then perhaps Ikeda serves as its resident headbanger.
With Dataplex, his first CD release in over four years, Ikeda inaugurates a project called Datamatics, in which Ikeda draws on raw data from DNA code to mathematical formulae to explore the aethetics of data in the digital age. On Dataplex, Ikeda uses high frequency raw data as both the overarching theme and the basic building blocks for twenty short, interrelated pieces. This disc is no aesthetic sea change for Ikeda. For those familiar with the ultra-minimal digital aesthetic of the Raster-Noton crew and Ikeda’s previous work, the bursts of static, yawningly deep sub-bass, and jittery, repetitive pitter-patterns of Dataplex will come as no shock. But, that said, who gives a toss when the music sounds this good? Post-digital glitch has rarely been as ineffably catchy (particularly on the second half of the disc) and it’s a note perfect soundtrack for the cold times that lie ahead.
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