Thursday, September 24, 2020
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SPIME.IM: Exaland

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Artist: SPIME.IM
Title: Exaland
Format: 12" + Download
Label: -OUS
Turin-based SPIME.IM make instrumental electronica, technically, but as you may have come to expect from the -ous label, it’s deconstructed and made wantonly obtuse and hard to categorise. Playful messing about with synth sounds that might ordinarily be found in electropop or synthwave, pulling them into extreme abstracts at times, feels as much an exercise in pushing expectations towards limits as it does a practice of making listenable music.

It’s a half-hour-long set consisting of seven non-sequentially (obtusely) roman-numbered tracks, which stand alone and could have warranted names. Some of these are accessible, for sure. The rubber shifting bass tone of “XI” contrasts nicely with the full-bodied melodic synth pads that run over it, and sounds fantastic played loud. “II” has moments of rich cinematic gut-punching tension, final track “VII” mellows out to a peaceful conclusion, while “VI” (*not* the track before “VII”) builds into something that could defendably be called modern trance and club music, to the extent that you begin to wonder whether you’ve pressed the wrong play button, a danceable track which abruptly (obtusely) drops-out mid-bar as soon as your hands have started heading in an airwards direction.

The less accessible moments include “XII”, which takes the retriggering into high-BPM bombardment territory, and “I” which is much sparser, with a pleasant pitch-shifting bass tone, but a structure which has a strong appearance of complete randomness and a deliberate intention to defy pattern-spotters.

Ticking boxes in both ‘electronica’ and ‘art’, it’s a very listenable short album (or is it a long EP? Old labels no longer apply.) It will appeal to glitch and Aphex Twin appreciators looking for something fresh and stylish.

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