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Plastiq Phantom :: Plastiq Phantom s/t


The oneiric experience is central to this album's sound -- so much so, in fact, that it could've been the first hip-hop-affiliated recording to give props to Sigmund Freud or legendary ancient Greek diviner Artemidorus on its liner note shoutouts. Sadly, it didn't happen. The album's disorienting and enigmatic narcoleptic ambiance, its blurry spaciousness, its lush range of warm, organic-sounding textures gently caress our inner eye with a playful, anything-goes attitude. Fortunately, it does so while avoiding the abstruse abstractness and alienating digital data file scrambling that we've come to expect from non-commercial electronica. As with similarly progressive-minded projects (Boards of Canada, Plaid), Plastiq Phantom's brand of IDM recalls the old school's pioneering redefinition of technology, as well as an enthusiastic embrace of vintage analogue sounds, which favors a more human approach. Add a touch of surrealism and absurdity a la Themselves (or any of the other crazy guys on Anticon) and you're ready to go. Breathy, pristinely reverberant mutterings slowly reveal a ghostly tinkering piano on fragile opener "Tomplikplianokton", setting the tone for the rest of the album, unfolding passively and unobtrusively in a haze of retro-sounding electronic processing.

One defining feature of Plastiq Phantom's aesthetic is his desire to liberate sounds normally buried in the vertigo of everyday life, and therefore doomed to meaninglessness, never seen beyond their status as unusable noise or their plain functionality. Perhaps as an attempt to distance himself from the cold, oppressively sterile, obsessive-compulsive and ultimately intimidating software tweaking of the "intelligent" genre, the mysterious artist behind this delightful anomaly searches for oblique, unexpected inspiration within his immediate surroundings, adding a homemade/lo-fi feel to the proceedings. "Fly", for example, derives its shimmering pulses from the prosaic, almost abject sound of a buzzing fly, here submitted to ingenious, futuristic sound treatments. Rusty springs, a power transformer and balloons provide the sampled foundations for the extraterrestrial, Escher-esque "Sqeeeble", without falling into grim, post-industrial Neubauten territory. Miniatures are expanded into large vistas of sputtering programmed rhythm and bubbling synthesizers. Exuberant drumming and subsonic bass tectonic shifts (check "Tiny Dancer" or "Mama Take Me Home") remind us of early rap and electro's adventurousness. Iggy Pop once famously bragged about having "home appliances" in his main musical influences. For Artemidorus, on the other hand, dream interpretation was "nothing other than the juxtaposition of similarities". Plastiq Phantom blends these two principles into one fascinating journey.