From Raster comes the new record Applied Autonomy by electronic virtuoso Robert Lippok (To Rococo Rot, etc.). Though this Berlin-based producer is quite active collaboratively, this is his first solo record since 2011 (also on the same label), and his sound has matured into a fine vintage as explored here. The record will be released tomorrow via CD and on Vinyl in early June. To start the title track is a bouncy and alive affair, quite curvilinear in tone, preceded by an intro, scene 1, that revs the gaseous air in the engine. Before I dig too deep, it cannot go without mentioning the gorgeous abstraction adorning the cover, which already looks as if it sounds, shapes saving in and opening up in contrasting color variations by Argentinian artist Luca Gutierrez. The backlit glow seen is heard on varieties of impact, with its repetitive vocal sample and salty static.
Rhythmic in structure, the often icy sounding Lippok brings his jazzy contortions some wiggly funk – and was originally based on sketches for a club set. These ears, however, can very much appreciate when his truncated ideas do, in fact, come off as short snippet sketches as on the interspliced scene 2 into scene 3. The former a bit of a rummaging field recording, the latter, an exercise in building beats. The delicate balance between the variety in sound allows the artist to explore so many unique textures, yes, you can ‘feel’ the music on the tactile but too abbreviated drawing from memory and practice. Though Lippok seems to be clearly connoting the liminal aspects of these shorter pieces as intermediary to get from one point to all objects are moving. Similar in physical structure to the title track, this one is a bit more akin to labelmate Olaf Bender’s work, and perhaps here a more grounded, introspective take on the evolution of microsound. Yet, midway the layers of beats build into a sweet concoction as a female voice counts down and the mix goes up and up and phases out. It’s an exhilarating track that most definitely begs for a handful of remixes.
The peak of this record only grows on psychic waveforms, a rich minimal techno track that is anything but tentative. It gives Applied Autonomy its ‘hit’ track, with a darker dancefloor feel, and no compromise in terms of style, just a more outfitted structure like a field of exploding sunflowers. This is likely the producer’s most colorful record to date, he reveals his (fast moving) hand a bit, by sharing the expanse of aural avenues he travels. scene 4 at less than a minute, brings the proceedings down a few notches with a lo-fi string stroke and hum. This prepares you for the fourteen minute finale, the moody samtal which utilizes a synthy drone and artificial bird call. By incorporating a bit of white noise, Lippok goes inward again, adding a bit of percussive patter, which here is lightly tribal. Layers of distant industrial alarms, the dappling of rain and a whole heck of an atmosphere showcase this man’s true colors, both light and dark.