M by Gintas K

cover

Gintas K | M
GK Rec (CD/DL)

In following Gintas K‘s career trajectory over a decade plus I’ve noticed a keen focus on the conceptual bent of his approach, on M he’s in top form, delivering a slightly harder, more granulated sound overall. For all intense purposes, there are no overdubs here, and the record is broken into two parts: tracks 1-6 are numbered 1m to 6m; and tracks 7-17 are titled Mimicry1 through Mimicry11. And right from the start it’s a jumble of electroacoustic bounce and frenzy that almost sounds as if it’s empowered by a voice signal of some sort. A plethora of bleeps, bloops and twisted mishigas gone awry, but somehow Gintas contains the chaos with dog-whistle pitch and variables that would make any prolific thereminist blush.

This coagulated fusion is fascinatingly bent. Though it sounds as if someone is tinkering with the soft belly of a pinball machine’s innards the results are both animated and perplexing. When things get really chunky the physical synthesis breaks down gradually, and at this point I imagine the artist acting and reacting to experiments and distortions therein in stride, almost like a headcleaner. If ever there whether was a time to utilize the phrase “alternative” it is right here, fair listener. Some harsh noise records repel me so much I just can’t be bothered, honestly, but this has the innate ability to engage your senses, the effect is quite tingling. Oh, and this is just track one (which runs nearly 18 mins).

As the digital sounds flicker like a sci-fi console the ear is drawn elsewhere, fluctuating between the hiss and stupefaction imbued by the highs/lows, the silences and the din. The composer seems to be addressing some form of corruption and disconnect here, far more “concrete” than his previous works. The works parallel forms of minimal and maximal somehow, an uncommon blend.

Kraptavicius captures this fidgety and uncomfortable space in pure electronic music where many would iron the seams, but instead he inverts to expose the guts, and in this case it works, especially on 3m where there seems to be a quasi middle eastern melody deposed behind the fractals. There’s much tension, much secrecy, even with such exposure. And so on, he moves through this electronic mirage, switches engaged, knobs twisted occasionally to highlight playful tonalities in limbo. All comes to a head on 6m where much of the vividly drawn lines have been suspended to offer a reduced set of microchords that meander in the shadows.

As we move to the eleven short pieces making up the Mimicry suite (all played live), it’s sounds as though the performer is wearing his microphone while tumbling around, the open signal going in and out, all cut-up. It’s disquieting as the muffled flailing ensues. The physical sounds have the quality as if taunting the listener in a liquified state that is riveting (literally). The sounds become more and more phased, delivered in chunks, like slabs of beef. It’s something altogether new for the artist, but comes off quite earnest and indelicate at various intervals. Behind the pulverizing electro-dalliances there are hidden passages of drone melody such as that which rises from the ashes on Mimicry4, the highlight of this portion of the record. It is as though someone is trying to pry open a door to get back to some semblance of civilization.

For all the intermittent, industrial unpleasantries scattered on Mimicry, there are amply as many percolating curiousities to counter-balance the clangor. In fact, on Mimicry9 it sounds like a conductor readying for a performance at his/her lectern, repeating the same action of preparing their place for performance, over and over. It’s one of those moments that sounds like a false start that will never end, in this light amusing and so meta from the angle of any musician or noisemaker. Now, let’s begin (by observing the end, of this record).

In the final two tracks Mimicry10 – Mimicry11 Gintas K ratchets up the literal twists and churns to reveal the continuing mix of discombobulation. The minor, tweaky percussion lends well to the rotating effects, like flipping endlessly through a rolodex at high speed as if rummaging through a card catalogue at the library. The quality of the recording is discerning, especially because it makes no direct attempt at resolving itself, leaving the ends open to perspective interpretation, thus offering a Dadaist accumulation not unlike an exquisite corpse of sorts.

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