[sic] Magazine

Another Electronic Musician – States Of Space

It takes some courage and no little confidence to give yourself an ironic name in the way Jase Rex has with Another Electronic Musician . Most journalists will grab at any straw they’re offered. Witness the slew of re-written press releases that masquerade as reviews. You open the door, even a chink to a lazy gag and someone somewhere will barge in. Then again, there’s the reverse psychology aspect. Cynics might say Rex is using suggestion to plant seeds in the mind of the critic. Seeds that can only flower into “Another electronic musician? Oh no Sir, anything but.”

We could analyse this for another hundred pages. We could overthink all of it. Let’s perhaps…not. Shall we? What the hell is ‘electronic’ music anyway? Everything that isn’t acoustic? Isn’t that quite broad? It’s the same with IDM. My team lynch me every time I use that term. Like I’m saying other dance music isn’t intelligent. I see their point but to me IDM is just a peg upon which to hang something. Like Punk wasn’t just one thing either but we still use the term.

Doesn’t AEM deserve a review now? I think so. Knot your nooses and make firm those gallows because more lazy generalisations will certainly abound.

There are myriad forms of electronica and IDM but for the sake of simplicity lets say there are just two main strands. Here’s what I think they are: First you have your IDM that was borne out of house and techno. The same processes, the same techniques that go into moving our feet and hips, instead begin to be oriented towards stimulating the mind. Here I think the term IDM was originally coined for just such an approach. Next you have the electronica that has its heritage more in shoegazing or post-punk – a laptop or bedroom development of that sound and/or vibe. I’m tempted to say the latter is more me but it isn’t as simple as that. Each are microcosms and each have good and less good exponents. n5MD’s philosophy has been to take predominantly artists from the former category but ones who are expounding the emotional aspect of their music.

From feet to brain to heart. Often with wonderful results.

AEM is probably one of the artists more routed in true or classic IDM. (One of the less fluffy ones in other words). But on States Of Space, his 4th for n5, even Rex has taken a step toward emotive. The result? A true fusion of beats, glitches, steps etc with more drifting, dreamy ambience. Perfect example of this being ‘Fnctnl’ (functional?) Whether it is this progression that makes States Of Space stand out from its predecessors or whether it is just a better album generally, is a difficult call to make. But better it is. Anyone who DJs chill-out or downtempo might be advised to incorporate some of these tracks into an impressive new set. ‘Atheos’ wouldn’t be a bad start.

That ‘change in the air’ in respect of the AEM direction should provide no misgivings whatsoever. Just as a wise man might eschew the weather forecast in favour of asking a farmer, AEM provides the same certainty. For wherever clouds of swirling ambience may appear, beats will certainly follow. States Of Space is that rarest of things – a record that works well as a crossover but one which will also keep the purists happy.

Me, I’m the opposite. I’m the impurist from the other end of the spectrum. The dreamy hippy left marvelling at the craftsmanship of album closer ‘Venatici’ and remembering that there’s a place for everything – mechanical and human, passionate and dispassionate. ( Kraftwerk anybody?) Anything…when it’s done this well.