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Zorn - All we can do is enjoy the ride

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Artist: Zorn

Album: All we can do is enjoy the ride

Label: Lux Nigra

Review date: Mar. 14, 2005

Who knows where electronica is at these days – geeks in bedrooms? Laptop warriors? Sound art? The term “electronica” is problematic, an umbrella designation which says little about the diversity of production that goes on underneath the banner. It’s electronic in design, then. That’s hardly revelatory. It would, however, be hard to convincingly argue that electronica has maintained its relevance in the early 21st century: that the bold moves made in the 1990s by Aphex Twin, Mouse on Mars, Oval, Autechre and so on haven’t calcified and fossilized, with electronica reduced to a set of empty gestures. Lacking physicality, socio-political resonance and sheer use value, electronica’s pseudo-abstract finger-painting lacks any real point beyond the worthless play of home indulgence.

All we can do is enjoy the ride is an eloquent set of electronica that pulls a few signature sounds together and tries to essay coherence and coldly beauty from its chosen building blocks. Like a good swathe of home-listening electronic music it’s indebted to Autechre’s sudden cognitive shifts and timbral distortions; Zorn also calls upon the ambivalent, pulsing dub-scapes of the Chain Reaction and ~scape labels. That doesn’t exactly position Zorn in an under-populated field, and All we can do is enjoy the ride never quite justifies its existence. And in a world buckling under the strain of way too much music, 99.9% of which you could never hope to hear in your lifetime…

Zorn does have a knack for a certain elegance of production, and his short pieces brim and bristle with texture and incident. “City of Industry,” riding a faintly virulent, distorted bass-line and weightless wafts of foreboding circuitry hum, evokes the steely-grey, stentorian climes of Polygon Window’s Surfing on Sine Waves. But All we can do is enjoy the ride, though well-rendered, fails to distinguish itself from the mass of similar recordings doing the rounds.

By Jon Dale

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