Mark Fell – UL8 (Editions Mego) 2011

Yesterday I was on a Lego run to a local shopping centre with my eldest. Despite his appreciation of One Direction, the kid has a pretty good ear. He has always had an opinion on noise and is a bit of a Daniel Menche fan. I decided to play a bit of Mark Fell as a soundtrack to the appalling traffic and rain. Truth be told, my first born was not a fan, his only comment being that it sounded like a vomiting robot. Although the vomiting robot comparison was lost on me, I had to agree that the first couple of tracks are pretty much unlistenable. There is something utterly nauseating about the beats that Fell creates which are both rubbery and harshly metallic at the same time. On the liner notes to this CD, Fell explain his process. The first five tracks are created by “using 32 operator frequency modulation synthesis configured in 16 pairs of operator and modulator, panned at equal positions around the circumference of a circle using high order ambisonics.” Got that? Didn’t think so.
Although I could gladly live the rest of my life without ever having to listen to those tracks ever again the fact is that this record, for the most part, is excellent stuff. The second suite of tracks are called Vortex Studies. I won’t spend time writing about how he came to make these tracks but they feel like an avant grade take on techno. The texture and elements work much better than the initial five tracks and if you love your electronica weird as shit then you will be very happy indeed.
The third suite is titled Acid In The Style Of Rian Treanor and reminded me much more of Fell’s previous work with .snd. The seven tracks which make up these experiments are absolutely fantastic. I think what it comes down to is that I like Fell as a difficult electronic musician rather than a theoretical sound artist. Best to leave that shit to Florian Hecker.

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