Square Landscapes (Kotä Records; LP/DL, 8/3/18)
Tbilisi-based sound producer Rezo Glonti (aka Aux Field) releases his first LP, second full recording under this moniker after his debut, Imaginable Layers (2015, Umor Rex). Though he’s been recording and releasing (under his own name) since 2010 Glonti decided to write a sound-based love letter to his Georgian hometown’s curvy architecture, and you can hear it loud and clear on this synth driven record. These eight individual tracks, four per side, show the artist’s his affinity for glassy rhythms and old school electronics. On Corridor the first thing I’m reminded of is the theme music from the Netflix show Stranger Things. If you like your sci-fi synthesizers dipping its toes back into the grayer areas of the early to mid 80s you will absolutely love the curvilinear coordinates of style he’s conjuring. If Metamatic-era John Foxx and the miniseries V (the 1983 version) had a baby….
Unstuck is a bit cheeky and harkens to the full re-emergence of Underworld in its warm-up sense of chill with a dash of sinister intent. Blurpy synths and painterly flute-like melodies define sweet separation. Now he’s out on the road with Underpass 90, his very own free-range Autobahn, and it emanates tunnel travel at a steady speed like Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train, nearly whisper-quiet in its controlled motion. Aux Field makes a thoughtful, retro record that brings a sense of pre-fab into the 21st Century, a synthesized and automated assimilation – but its far from toothsome, it’s a bit of an airy revelation. In fact on Expending System what you may hear as a warning layered with a digital motor has more in common with today’s artificial intelligence innovations than it does with a Mini Moog and space dust. The sensitive delivery of ambient music channeled through the filter of a young artist who has obviously listened to Jarre, Vangelis and countless neo-classical composers in the wake of Arvo Pärt (who is still at it). Square Landscapes captures the essential feeling of what it is to be “post” in and of itself. Not in a defeatist way, but building upon fringe tropes that have long been in the public sphere, but there’s an earnest, vaguely naive spirit in the work, making it a damn infectious listen.
Once you flip the record over incoming is the slower, more cerebral warp of Memo. With its Kraut/Prog Rock trickling symbology and streaky edges, the track feels like a déjà vécu. On to the next, Paragraph, perfectly fit with it’s punctuated short beats, mysterious backing synths and pulse it’s more in the realm of minimal dub. With a layer of twangy keystrokes and elusive colorful synth swoops it’s a track to diversify the proceedings. Not the standout here, but it practically shifts the tone towards the final two tracks. Garden In The Frame keeps the atmosphere upbeat and is peppered with a vintage sound that takes from the playbook of the Tubeway Army. But this shifts after a few minutes becoming a bit of a desolate forest complete with vague hoots and rainsticks. The dip into quietude doesn’t last too long, the garden continues to be exposed – man has definitely had a hand in recreating what nature intended here.
In the conclusion, Fieldhead, Dear Friend, Glonti has reduced his sound to a purring open wire source with a set of repeating surveillance bleeps. The moodiness is palpable, and he lends what can only be described as manipulating undulating sound waves into theme music that leaves you wondering if there will be a part two.
* Art-work is by Amsterdam based Graphic Surgery.