You don't hear enough improvisation in electronic music. The medium lends itself to hyperclean and fastidiously arranged elements that emerge in a linear fashion, thanks to the arrangement view of most DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), used by almost every producer working today.
Thanks to the predictability of most mainstream electronica, a lot of underground producers are turning to the rough-and-ready style of recording "straight to tape", in a style reminiscent of classic proto-techno and live electronic styles from the '60s to the early '80s, from early Detroit techno to the technoid soundscapes of Vangelis and the "Berlin School" of Tangerine Dream related keyboard wizards.
Prouktiaunen, from Austrian producer Jane Fox, was realized using the software Reason, from the company Propellerheads, which is notable in and of itself. Reason was top-of-the-line software around the turn of the century, but is often overlooked in favor of more powerful, performance-based software such as Ableton Live and Logic. Reason is not the easiest to work with, with wonky sequencing, making many producers overlook the fact that it has almost unparalleled levels of sonic control and sounds flipping awesome!
Fox uses Reason as an updated version of early electronic tools - a digital equivalent of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, those Alchemists Of Sound who conjured the 'Doctor Who' theme song using morphed and modulated champagne corks and bottle sounds, and the synth and drum machine hacking of Detroit's Carl Craig, at his most experimental. This makes Fox's compositions more organic and unpredictable - like walking around alien vistas instead of dancing to 8-bar loops.
"Prod 3" starts things off with a strobing sequencer, like The Who's "Baba O'Riley" with the teenage angst stripped out, leaving only a halogen landscape of hollow doorways to crash in. Church bells ring out in the night, as flying saucer oscillators gradually emerge, like the onset of a drug trip. All forward momentum and sense of narrative gradually dissolves, leaving only an industrial atonal keyboard drone, like floating in the inky nothingness of space. Soundtrack for an abduction?
"Produkt 1" is like some modern production music, that would be an appropriate soundtrack for the manufacture of motherboards and microchips. Here is the only point where Fox's production suffers, as the skiffling beat sounds canned and out-of-the-box. This is one of the perils of working with presets, as they come across as something you've heard before. I'd like to see Jane Fox spend some extra time and focus on the drum sound and programming, to really bring his music to life and make it uniquely his own.
The drums liven up on "Produkt 2 version", one of the most contemporary tracks on here, with a loping, arrhythmic kick drum and the barely-there outline of a synthesizer. Jane Fox may not think his music sounds like anybody, but it is in line with some of the electronic avant-garde leaking out of the underground, most notably the anonymous techno constructions of Aught Records, and the on-going live electronic meditation, The Colundi Sequence, by Finnish producer Aleksi Perala. "Produkt 2 version" is like walking through some midnight bog, with will-o-the-wisps luring you off into the distance. The weightless, ethereal keyboard and playful percussion makes it seem that these sprites may be more playful than malevolent, leading you off to a faerie adventure rather than a drowning death.
This short-and-oh-so-sweet EP rounds out with a straight version of "Produkt 2", which embellishes "Produkt 2 Version"' looping heart rhythm with a carnival-like Salsa rhythm, bringing a Brazilian celebration to the heart of the swamp. Weren't expecting that, were you? Prouktiaunen is full of surprises, which is something that can't be said for much 4/4 club bangers.
Jane Fox may not aspire to make money with his homemade tone sculptures, but he easily could. His production instincts are top-notch, indicating a lifelong lover of dancefloor constructions, and his experimental edge and urge to push things forward help him to stand out from the anonymous chaff vying for meaningless spots on the Beatport charts.
For those that like daring electronic music, help this man get discovered now!
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