Gacha Bakradze - Obscure Languages Music Album Reviews

Gacha Bakradze - Obscure Languages Music Album Reviews
On his second album for Barcelona’s Lapsus Records, the Tbilisi producer brings a rhapsodic melodic sensibility to rhythms that pay tribute to the golden era of IDM.

If you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, then Georgian producer Gacha Bakradze is conflicted indeed. Since debuting in 2012 on Apollo Records, the ambient subdivision of electronic giant R&S, he has recorded for Fort Romeau’s club-oriented Cin Cin and Barcelona experimental label Lapsus but also Anjunadeep, an imprint run by progressive trance overlords Above & Beyond—a slightly scattered state of affairs that has placed his work in Jody Wisternoff’s progressive dance mixes and Cafe Del Mar’s opulent chill-out compendiums along with compilations from John Talabot’s Hivern label.
What doubtlessly attracts both sides of the electronic spectrum is Bakradze’s clean sense of melody. The nine songs on Obscure Languages, his second album for Lapsus, sparkle with pristine refrains, their cobalt-wash surfaces capable of withstanding great repurposing; stylistically speaking, they’re at home in all sorts of contexts. “Indivisible” opens the album with a gorgeously dreamy melody, reminiscent of a gentle summer breeze, that provides the through line as the song accelerates from beatless indolence into a chattering electro rhythm. “Frame” uses vast synth washes to break up IDM beats and acidic machine babble, like early-’90s Autechre arriving at the pearly gates. Obscure Languages is so utterly untroubled by dirt, in fact, that when a jungle-ish breakbeat turns up on “Thank You for This Upload” it sounds box fresh and possibly a little sterile, however clever its subtleties of tone.

While Bakradze’s previous album for Lapsus, 2018’s Word Color, experimented with micro samples in a way that suggested the future was more than just a date on the calendar, Obscure Languages is unashamedly retro, calling back to the glory days of the early ’90s, when Warp codified the idea of “electronic listening music” on the way to IDM. Obscure Languages is to Black Dog Productions’ Bytes—the third album in Warp’s Artificial Intelligence series—what Oasis’ Definitely Maybe is to the Beatles’ Revolver: an enjoyable throwback that benefits from three decades of advances in musical technology to loom over its predecessor like a muscleman before a nerd at a 1960s beach party. The sub-bass alone on “Endless Tone” is a resounding tribute to hi-def audio processing, a sound so deliciously corporeal you want to wrap yourself in its arms as the nights get colder.

This is the essential trade-off on Obscure Languages. The sound design and immaculate tones that attract progressive trancers and chill-out czars are more notable here than radical ideas or stylistic novelty. Then again, electronic music has long had a nostalgic streak, and Obscure Languages does the retro-IDM shuffle with style, finesse, and an ear for melody that speaks to Bakradze’s long history with the guitar. Album closer “Slow Heart,” for example, has strong Durutti Column vibes in its ornate guitar figures. Bakradze’s music is frequently called cinematic for its epic scope and attention to sound design. In that sense, Obscure Languages is a new Star Wars film to Autechre’s recent art-house opuses: a familiar pleasure that brings comfort if not enlightenment.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Gacha Bakradze - Obscure Languages Music Album Reviews Gacha Bakradze - Obscure Languages Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 Rating: 5

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