Born Under a Rhyming Planet - Diagonals Music Album Reviews

Born Under a Rhyming Planet - Diagonals Music Album Reviews
Nineties heads know Chicago’s Jamie Hodge for his leftfield productions on Plus 8 and Source. Sifting through his old DATs, Demdike Stare came up with a grip of vintage ambient-techno abstractions.

Despite the name, Demdike Stare’s DDS is no vanity label: Since 2009, they’ve used the platform to release not only their own albums and mixtapes but also the work of other artists with singular sensibilities. There have been avant-dancehall burners from Equiknoxx, dispatches from the outer reaches of Mica Levi’s soundworlds, two typically oddball sides of Jim O’Rourke. The label’s greatest feat so far might be facilitating the return of Shinichi Atobe’s ineffable techno, but this summer DDS has also guided the re-entry of Chicago’s Born Under a Rhyming Planet. Diagonals is somehow a belated debut album, greatest hits compilation, and mixtape of re-edits, all at once. Whatever it is, it’s a welcome return.

Chicago’s Jamie Hodge spent his teenage years fiddling with electronics, hanging out with Gastr del Sol as they made early recordings, and raving ’til dawn. The story goes that he made his mom take a long detour through Windsor, Ontario, while touring prospective colleges back East; his mom waited in the car while he knocked on Richie Hawtin’s front door, played him some demos, and secured a release on Hawtin’s influential Plus 8 label. That EP, 1993’s Digital:Hell/Analog:Heaven, is among the label’s finest. It’s also the only thing Hodge released under that name for nearly three decades. Meanwhile, he made himself a fixture of Chicago’s post-rock/experimental jazz scene. Around the turn of the millennium, as members of the groups Conjoint and Studio Pankow, he and David Moufang, aka Move D, put out a few fine records that bleep and swing.

For Diagonals, DDS dug into Hodge’s hard drives and came up with 14 tracks. Some, they apparently re-edited; others appear untouched. Almost to a one, they stun. And if they mostly sound like their respective moments—the mid-’90s fragmentation of Detroit techno into electronica, and subsequent early-2000s defragmentation into minimal techno—they also remind listeners of Hodge’s prodigious delicacy and sense of balance. Despite bearing the hallmarks of the era, they still sound timeless.

The brief ambient “Intro” readies ears before drifting into a pair of the album’s longer tracks. “Siemansdamm” stretches out unsteadily, a little tentatively. But there’s a clarity to the melody, and the bass boom always arrives on time, if rarely when one expects. “Handley” gurgles with analog bubbles that burst into refreshing sprays of rims and claps before sinking deep into the mix to form channels. And “Traffic” puts Detroit techno up on blocks, with a grating ping that spins its wheels while the undercarriage collapses. Each sounds like a lost classic that could have appeared on Warp or Clear or Mille Plateaux back in the day—because, of course, they are.

Other producers might have stretched miniatures like “Intermission” and “Skyway” into epics, but Hodge keeps them at 90 seconds or so. Sketches have their own dignity. If Bootsy Collins turned bass strings into rubber bands, “Trampoline” turns the frequencies into a rubber mat that offers a bounce less dizzying than its drop. Despite its wildly specific title, the ambient clanging of “Hot Nachos with Cheese, Cappuccino, Calling Cards” is vague, perhaps, but fully realized. “Menthol” and the lengthier “Fete” blow through with a particularly Windy City kind of noir, breezy like mid-period Tortoise but swapping out his famous neighbors’ candlelit vibe for flickering neon.

Longer tracks don’t overstay. “Hyperreal” constructs a rickety glitch to fence in pools of eerie sighs, thick pads of synth, and some theremin-esque incantations. This has been a sound of the future for decades now; it may still be. With an organ cutting through buzzing, hissing billows like a hand through a cloud of summer mosquitos and gnats, “Avenue” slaps. The true swoon of the set, though, is “Interstate,” a long run of cresting frequencies approaching the top and bottom of human hearing. The tones slowly doppler and pan; about halfway through, they splinter and crunch. The simple drama really takes you somewhere. It could be the fertile ground between Chicago and Detroit, or Sheffield and Cologne. But Diagonals suggests that Hodge, like the best of his DDS cohort, might be in an orbit all his own.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Born Under a Rhyming Planet - Diagonals Music Album Reviews Born Under a Rhyming Planet - Diagonals Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, September 15, 2022 Rating: 5

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