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piekoz, narrativestructurez
I want to take a stab at explaining why I enjoy piekoz's album narrativestructurez so much, and why I think it's a great idm album. Creator Dave P was nice enough to send me the cd gratis, which doesn't often happen, so you're entitled to believe that my judgement is clouded -- but keep in mind that I have plenty of cds given to me by artists that gather both dust and moss. (Oh, not yours.)

On first listen, narrativestructurez may sound more like a downtempo album than an idm album. piekoz uses real instruments, human voices, and digital tweaking to create dark, smoky tracks about the speed of the human heartbeat. Really, it is a downtempo album, but there's more going on here, a restlessness that expresses itself as constantly evolving sound and melody. Every track, even the weaker ones (and the album does lose some intensity in the second half) keeps reaching to break out of cliche towards actual feeling. Nothing is static here, everything is morphing, moving in and out, varying.

The real achievement of this album is that it doesn't come out sounding prog. Somehow piekoz manages to have his cake and eat it too, twisting his sounds as much as any idm purist without destroying the delicate noirish atmosphere he starts out with. Calling something downtempo isn't a slam, necessarily, but if idm fans don't claim this album for their own, they'll be missing a beautiful example of sonic experimentation as a vehicle for emotional expression.

The obvious example of a group that's dared to evoke an environment that isn't industrial or mechanical is Boards of Canada. narrativestructurez is more subtle, though, and doesn't go for the cheap insights of psychedelia. It's just as good at putting a dizzying array of sounds into a coherent whole, but the song structures are freer (and I'm a total sucker for multipart songs). narrativestructurez hardly ever sounds self-indulgent, though, it just sounds, well, self-contained, self-defining, sui generis, new not for the sake of being new but because there's something new to express here, and I know it's a lot to lay on an album but that alone is almost enough to justify the existence of a genre focused on new sound.

piekoz's site is here, and you can buy it and listen to sound samples here

update: it's now, I dunno, six months since I wrote the above. I'm enjoying the album at least as much now as I did then. It's fucking great.


last timestamped: 22:38:25 22-Sep-2002
in categories:Music/Reviews, Music/Boston

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