Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Ital Tek: Bodied

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Artist: Ital Tek
Title: Bodied
Format: 12" vinyl + CD
Label: Planet Mu
Ital Tek has been putting out releases on Planet Mu for over a decade, this being the sixth full album, and the cerebral, glitchy electronica sound has certainly evolved over time, but Bodied is probably the biggest single-step change yet. He’s left dance music well behind in favour of rich cinematic sound design and centres almost wholly around acoustic elements, vocal pads and choral ‘ahhhh’ sounds, underpinned by rumbling bass notes that have a decidedly tense aspect.

Though the press release describes this work as embracing the creative freedom Ital Tek felt after finishing a bunch of video game work, the throbbing undertone of “Become Real” playing against the warm orchestral top end gives proceedings a decidedly game-soundtrack flavour, with the beautiful final track “The Circle Is Complete” sounding like an epic sci-fi overture to gameplay. Tracks like “Cipher” perhaps exhibit signs of that ‘underscore’ mentality which seems to value consistency over progression- but that’s no criticism when the consistent mood in question is so intriguingly put together.

Highlights include the heartrate-twisting and sinister “Lithic”, and the strangely Jean-Michel Jarre-like “Blood Rain”. “Vanta” is reminiscent of some of the best soundtrack work from Hybrid or UNKLE, employing a synth-guitar lead line that also sits to good effect on top of “Hymnal”.

Planet Mu output gets a lot of praise, with good reason, and here’s another prime example. Supremely high quality, thoughtful IDM / electronica / whatever you want to call it that’s a really satisfying listen.