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Sleeparchive | Antti Rannisto
s/t (Sleeparchive) CD

 On this split full-length, two of electronic music’s arch minimalists face off to see who can do more with less. Berlin’s secretive Sleeparchive (aka Stephan Metzger, aka Roger Semsroth) has never hidden his admiration for Pan Sonic’s Mika Vainio. Vainio’s classic solo album Metri has provided the basic roadmap for much of Sleeparchive’s excursions into the barebones world of skeletal techno. On the five tracks he contributes here, Semsroth continues to follow in Vainio’s footsteps, straying further and further from the crowded dancefloor into increasingly desolate territory. There are beats to be found here, but they are few and far between (“Hospital 08” does provide some solid clicks and groovy whoop-whoops for those who seek them). But though the music is spare, the there that’s there is darkly compelling, and even, upon occasion, starkly beautiful. Like Sleeparchive, Finland’s Antti Rannisto has more than a passing fancy for Vainio-esque minimalism. On his first full-length, 2005’s Ääniesienitä he constructed fascinating compositions out of a simple set of components: metronomic beats that slipped in and out of sync, elegantly quavering sine tones, and softly clicking static, milking these meagre ingredients for all they were worth. It ended up sounding rather like early Pan Sonic with a serious case of OCD—and that’s a good thing in my estimation. Here he’s almost as brutally (and fruitfully) singleminded. There are moments of almost-lyricism during the icily pastoral “Colors,” but otherwise Rannisto’s music is as elegant and unnerving as the photo of Lupoid, a sled dog from Shackleton’s ill-fated South Polar expedition, who stares out from the album’s cover.

 

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