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Basteroid - Upsets Ducks

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Artist: Basteroid

Album: Upsets Ducks

Label: Areal

Review date: Sep. 24, 2007

It’s been a while since I connected with Germany’s Areal label: while their two Bisneun mix-discs, mopping up singles from earlier this decade, signposted a welcome shift away from Microhouse’s endless, discrete pointillism toward meatier minimal techno, Ada’s debut album was patchy, and Metope’s Kobol passed me by. Which is why it’s nice to welcome Basteroid back, as Sebastian Riedl’s productions are among the gruffest of the roster, burning through studio cables with fizzing vigour, textures hot to touch, fierce and rough.

Not much has changed on Upsets Ducks. Riedl specializes in a heavy-handed playfulness as seductive as it is demonstrative. On tracks like “Jacktales,” his palette is all steely blues and glistening silver; “How Not To Play Piano” is brutishly edited, as though the CD is stuck in an abstruse glitch pattern, and the mine-sweeping, portentous melody-drone that weaves through the piece barely holds Riedl’s energy in check. Along similar lines, “Attention: Upsets Ducks” offsets the crunch and grind of cruelly distorted hi-hats with tremolo’d keys and light, off-in-the-distance bell tones.

Basteroid’s productions indulge in serious fun, a kind of whimsical darkness; either painted in broad strokes of metallics or obsessively iterated in pinprick detail, they’re the secret gems in the Areal roster. Upset Ducks offers the perfect audio analogue of the ‘not-quite-right’-ness of the label’s distinctive artwork, where (i.e.) crayon-colored monsters rampage through building blocks that are pure concrete and greyscale. Unsurprisingly, the art is also the product of Riedl’s impatiently ticking mind. Long may he warp everything ‘just so’…

By Jon Dale

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