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Plastiq Phantom :: Enjoy The Art Of Lying Down Review


At the tender age of 22, Seattle producer Darrin Wiener has built a formidable reputation for tweaking electronic sounds into free-form instrumental discourses. His first album as Plastiq Phantom, Enjoy the Art of Lying Down, capitalizes on some of that promise, if not exactly congealing into a cohesive, satisfying work.

Enjoy the Art of Lying Down is completely synthetic; the computers and keyboards employed on the album aren't used to mimic "real" instruments but to flesh out mechanical sounds and ideas. Its best track, "Slouch," resembles an '80s new wave song by Kate Bush with its adherence to classical composition. Another cut, "492 Cups to China," mimics traditional Chinese music, even though its relative thinness proves far more lithe than the windpipes and kotos it unsuccessfully replicates. Much of the disc rises and falls on the strength of Plastiq Phantom's compositional abilities. "Transmodular Binary Influx" pairs a flurry of arpeggios with a wash of synthesizer chords; in contrast, "Raincoat Sonata #2" is purely minimalist, full of eerie silences and softly kicking drum machines.

Thanks to his young age, Plastiq Phantom will undoubtedly be linked with artists such as Autechre and Aphex Twin. But Enjoy the Art of Lying Down belongs in the class of austere experimental works by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Steve Reich, and IDM innovators such as Matmos, Pluramon, and Kid-606. His sole nod to mainstream dance culture on an untitled hidden track, which centers around a sex-education record narrated by two children, seems boorish and cliched. He would be better served carving out new frontiers from classical and electronic influences, rather than being encumbered by them.

- Mosi Reeves