Dusted Reviews

Ateleia - Formal Sleep

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Ateleia

Album: Formal Sleep

Label: Xeric

Review date: Jan. 19, 2007

Ateleia is “generally immunity or exemption from some or all the duties which a person has to perform towards the state.” It’s an entirely appropriate nom-de-plume for New York’s James Elliott, whose curatorial bent vis-à-vis his Antiopic label often addresses sound’s subversive, socio-political dimensions: see their staggering Ultra-Red release, or the Allegorical Power series of MP3s.

The immediate political punch in Ateleia’s work to date, however, only comes with certain song titles, i.e. “Production and Poverty” or “To Sell the Ground from Unborn Feet Forever…” from 2004’s Swimming Against the Moments. Rather, Elliott’s music is quietly, hypnotically gorgeous. Formal Sleep follows through on the debut’s textural promise, with every digital grain flooded with light, the sensual properties of these perpetually flickering micro-melodies and buried, striated rhythms recalling the bright eyelid-movie patterning of Man Ray’s Emak Bakia film, where spiralling shapes reflect light in abstruse programs.

Elliott sometimes rests on rhythm to propel his pieces, though on “Salt Horse Sculpture” and “A Doubtful Shore” any beats are submerged and waterlogged, lost in the swampland created by Elliott’s computer manipulations of guitar, bass and electronics. Stronger still are a clutch of moments where he submits to the bliss of granulated tonology – “Formal Barrier” draws on a guest performance from the peripatetic David Grubbs on harmonium, draping ghostly DSP around the instrument’s romantic wheeze.

On pieces like this and the closing “Bridget Riley,” which neatly approximates the optical effects of Riley’s landmark artworks, Elliott approaches the melancholy tension-in-beauty of his immediate forebears, Christian Fennesz and Tim Hecker. I can’t help but suspect Elliott’s already sick of being compared to those two artists, but at the very least it’s proof that he’s working with an advanced language for his chosen idiom.

By Jon Dale

Read More

View all articles by Jon Dale

Find out more about Xeric

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.