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Lagowski – Redesine+

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Lagowski - Redesine+For his first album in seven years under his own name (rather than as S.E.T.I.), Andrew Lagowski seems to have decided to revisit every possible way of making synthesized music – let’s lump them all under the rubric of techno just for the moment – and give it an extra shove in various oblique directions. Sprinkled with bleeps, thwups, trickles and sprightly bursts of brightly-crafted sonics, Redesine+ is one of those records which tweaks and expands the template by which sequencers have both constrained and empowered electronic music for the last thirty-five+ years.

By turns dubby and angular, flecked with minimalist touches in a maximalist environment with the abstracted samples often flowing thick and fast, the thirteen tracks offer up a coruscating tumble of sounds which ripple and twist into contortions so supple that the effect can be dizzying at times. Breakbeats, thundering drum patterns, deracinated synthesisers, beauteous choral Mellotron-alikes provide a shimmering panoply. The whole album is flooded with warping melodies and wefting leftfield whirrs which stretch across a palette which is rooted somewhere in the same space as Autechre used to be before they became swallowed up by their own devices’ abstraction (this is not, however, a bad thing). What Lagowski serves up could be danced to, if desired, but the album can also just be allowed to take over the space into which it’s placed and left to redefine the fabric of space and time – because that’s what music does best, right?

Does that qualify Redesine+ as intelligent dance music, to bring back one of those Nineties genres which possibly never needed defining in quite those terms? Maybe so. More like tunes to make the listener’s neurons dance, if not always their body; and perfect for Kraftwerk‘s terpsichorean robots, only upgraded to a full set of mechanical limbs forming into an impossibly-complex series of big fish, little fish, cardboard box. Which would be so much fun to watch.

Like much sequenced electronic music, and especially the recent internet craze for so-called Black MIDI, Lagowski throws in so many notes that it would be functionally impossible for a human to play this music by hand. Where that clever trope delights in flinging a bazillion commands at pieces of classical or other music until their synaesthetic piano-roll videos bleed retro blitfests of migraine-inducing visuals, Redesine+ does something comparable to that minus the showboating, nor with any apparent devotion to complexity for its own sake. Far from being simply a shovelware spectacle, Redesine+ revels in its mechanistic properties while exuding a a very human warmth and a genuine sense of what can aptly be referred to as intelligent design at work, welcoming the listener as an occasionally befuddled guest in Lagowski’s own pocket electronic universe.

-Linus Tossio-

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