Starts to Fall
Kris Baha has a chronologically brief but surprisingly deep discography. Working within throwback EBM and post-industrial styles without straying too far into the techno hybrid sounds of his adopted Berlin home, a trend that continues with his new EP Starts to Fall. Like a lot of Baha’s work numbers like “Struck” show an understanding of the rhythmic underpinning of body music sounds, varying the bassline with minor adjustments while adding and withdrawing percussion elements. “Isolation” shows him digging deep into a simple percussion and bass groove, keeping the central elements largely similar and demonstrating how much power you can summon with minor tweaks to filter and peak. Most intriguing of the new tracks is opener “Behave”, which works a very tweaky synthline and sampled vocal around the song’s hard hitting rhythmic foundations. Strong stuff from a producer who has shown exactly how to reference the past without rotely repeating it, or himself.
The anachronistic futurism of new Virginia project Altra begins to come into focus when its origins are considered. The pure, tonal, throwback space synth of Travis Thatcher’s Voice Of Saturn (the name itself being a nod to analog synths) and Alex Christie’s funky, glitchy click n’ cut work as Leon Bison can both be detected in this collaborative work between the pair. Impossibly titled pieces like “-~5[cofee9)f`” clearly connote an abstract, chaotic brand of IDM commonly associated with wholly digitally-based artists, but are retro-engineering the storms of static and overlaid rhythmic intensity with warm and fuzzed out analog gear. “2′(i’ho!#@ea^g” takes a simple funk break and adorns it with dueling frenzies of wheezing industrial klaxons and intense kosmische noodling. In effect, Altra are taking up styles once billed as the bleeding edge of electronic experimentation using the gear and technique of artists at least a couple of generations previous to those IDM pioneers. Whether intentional or not, revisiting the theoretically cold and inhuman digital 90s sounds through a warm and nostalgic analog 70 lens acts as a nice comment on the inevitable march of electronic progress, and gives the listener a throughline with which to explore Altra’s squelchy, spacey reverie.