Bienoise | Most Beautiful Design
Mille Plateaux (FL/DL)
Out on November 16th is the mini album by Turin-based artist/producer Bienoise (Alberto Ricca) which will serve as the launch to the legendary Mille Plateaux imprint that was founded in 1994 (and being relaunched by) by Achim Szepanski, though went through various iterations and periods of radio silence over the past twenty-four years. And the five tracks that make up Most Beautiful Design will be released on, of all things, floppy disk (as well as available digitally)! The whole thing goes for a quasi DOS-styled throwback, but what’s it sound like?
The short set opens with Prepared CD Overture, which is a muted, granular churn. Keep in mind these tracks are most under two minutes – so their is this fleeting sensibility built-in as well. It loops with broken samples, perhaps to give the feel of data corruption. This continues with a layered, yet mostly hidden harmony on To Save, To Share. In many ways we take for granted, as we take advantage of the technology of our present, and rarely ever look back – so this naked perspective looks back and forward simultaneously.
This one drifts so quickly. At only about a dozen minutes overall, this is a perfect shot with your morning routine, however keep in mind that it’s made to align with the contents of its floppy medium. The lengthiest piece here, Utopia Robotz, is just under five minutes and brings with it a blurry, elusive interlude. With a watery sensibility the digital chirps break up the space until this weaves itself into a big open silence. After about fifteen seconds or so a set of somewhat passive robotic blips start of provoke the void. It’s an audio mirage, soft edges and fairly bright.
Listen to Utopia Robotz here.
ABSENCE v. PRESENCE: On Gursky Windows Ricca finds himself toying with additional effects that flutter away as this builds. The samples, like artefacts, are experimented with, and altered to bring forth what some might imagine as encoded messages. Even the breaks between individual tracks seem incidental, part of the overall program. That is until the final title piece here, Most Beautiful Design is patient both in pace and in technical layering inside and atop the final mix. The softness blends with rounded sweet harmony, yet it only gives us a teaser glimpse at its future potential.
There lay the crux – in a minimal techno resonating as short experimental vignettes, rather than lush and elongated, beat-laden romps. There are many unspoken contradictions here, and they all seem incredibly topical in our virtual, filtered society. Since we are innundated with the latter, it’s refreshing to be posed questions within our personal audio perceptions. One of the questions is access to the actual physical product itself – like something lost to time. One can most certainly appreciate this ending in a sinewave, slightly distended and suddenly cut. This presents Bienoise as someone keen on mastering the art of the reclusive edit. If he wanted to he likely could blow this whole thing way up, but the graceful restraint should draw much more conversation. Even the title seems wry given the straight-edged geometries that ooze out into the design by Sélva. But it also causes for some of the basic tensions posed by minimalism in general. Leaving us wanting more.
PS: This was the interview I did with the in-between variation of Mille Plateaux back in 2010 when they previously relaunched.