I can almost picture Dylan Nathan hovering over his equipment as he creates his music with an almost mathematic precision. While his last album Spectrum was more of what the people tended to lump in along with the "drill and bass" movement (that includes albums like U-Ziq's Urmur Bile Trax Volume 1 And 2 and Squarepushers Big Loada among others), his newest effort is all over the place, jumping from cut-up beat pastiches to eerie soundscapes and even ambient tunes. The strange thing, though, is that it's almost all cut in a very precise way, as if you can not only hear patterns emerging from each song, but ones that tie together different songs on the album to one another as well.
In saying that, I'm not trying to make the point that the album is repetitive or anything of the sort. It's a very weird, almost alien-sounding release at some points, while at others it welcomes you in with full arms. In different materials that I've read about Nathan, it says he's not only a musician, but a computer hacker and 3D animator as well (as well as a licensed pilot and BMX biker). It makes sense given tracks on the release that sound like a fight between him trying to keep control of the computer, while at times it seems that the computer is winning the battle. With track titles like "Breakpoint Envelope", "Motion Math" and "Syntax Tree" it makes even more of an argument of human precision versus machine precision.
The first track on the album, "Alternating Bit," moves along with some dark and eerie atmospheric sounds that sweep behind a chopping gurgle of beats before even more haunting layers pile on and threaten to cut off the light completely. On "Recursion," Nathan starts out the track with all kinds of strange little filters and pitch bent tones. They layer over one another and pile on and create a completely lurching, stuttering track for nearly the first third. Just when you think that the track is going to go on like that for it's entirety (and possibly drive you crazy in the process), everything just falls into place and the track starts rumbling right along. Even then, it can't move on without some hesitation, and threatens to derail at a couple other points. The first single and album titled track of "Geometry" sounds like something that Boards Of Canada could have put together with it's subdued electo hip-hop beat and whoosing synths.
On "Inertia," he strips things down to only a chiming, minimal synth and it works quite well as a rather unobtrusive beat makes its way into the track and slowly pulls it along. "Binary Space" is another minimal track that feels something like a Brian Eno number with pulses of synth and no real backbone.
One thing is for sure, and that's that Geometry is a much less banging and much more melodic than his previous effort. There are things going on within the disc that would not only appeal to those who like the aformentioned artists, but this release seems to have even more in common with work by the likes of Aphex Twin and especially Autechre. It's a definite growth in sound and although you may enjoy the slamming beats of his older stuff more, I'm completely surprised by this new direction and look forward to hearing more out of him in the future.
- Various - The Cosmic Forces Of Mu
- Venetian Snares - Defluxion
- Venetian Snares & Speedranch - Making Orange Things
- Joseph Nothing - Dummy Variations
- Hrvatski - Swarm & Dither
- Mu Allstars - Criminal
- Hellfish & Producer - Constant Mutation (Mixed)
- Leafcutter John - Microcontact
- Nicole Elmer - Beef Bouilion
- Tim Tetlow - Beauty Walks A Razor's Edge
- Phthalocyanine - 25 Tracks Fer 1 Track
- Leafcutter John - Concourse E.E.P.
- Luke Vibert - '95-'99
- Jega - Geometry
- Capitol K - Roadeater E.P.
- Kid Spatula - Full Sunken Breaks
- Jega & Kid Spatula - Unity Gain / Hard Love
- Capitol K - Sounds Of The Empire
- Slag Boom Van Loon - So Soon
- Tusken Raiders - The Motorbike Track
- Slag Boom Van Loon - Slag Boom Van Loon
- Jega - Spectrum
- Horse Opera - 3 Cornered Room
- Capitol K - Island Row