Dusted Reviews

Alka - Deployed

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: Alka

Album: Deployed

Label: Resopal

Review date: Jan. 12, 2003

Coach-Class Deployment

The airplanes decorating the cover of Deployed are apt imagery for this minimal techno groover: the album’s a ride of uncanny smoothness and calm. Alka’s debut album floats below the radar with its moody bass murmur, occasionally shining through the murked effects with pitched-up tweaks. The New York-based DJ and producer Alka lays his album out with deft sureness, and the subtly sculpted interiors don’t miss with their sleek curvature. And more importantly, as all techno albums that hold together must, it effectively acknowledges the concept of motion through unspecified dimensions.

As the tracks bounce along on their sinewaves, though, Deployed becomes maddening. It’s clever craftsmanship, but ultimately, I don’t just want an aerodynamic surface: I want some speed. I want to fucking go somewhere with this shiny beast, and in Deployed, unfortunately, the tracks don’t manifest the motion so much as they are framed by it. All the action, the hurtling through time and space, the best streaky sonic effects, are pushed to the periphery, leaving the album’s core stiflingly still.

There are plenty of minimal techno albums that skirt this problem nicely – they revel in the monotony almost exclusively, discovering beauty in singularly repetitive motion. Alka’s album is all the more frustrating because while it certainly seeks similar revelations, it hints at the same time of an outside far more dynamic and potentially thrilling than what’s contained within its highly controlled interior. Listening to Deployed, you’re conscious that you’re barrelling through the sky at a ridiculous sonic speed, and the journey is neither light nor pretty – twin thundering engines gnash up clouds and cough up torrents of fumes into the shrieking wind. But sitting inside the cabin of the airbus, on the other side of the thick panes of window, you’re removed from that physicality; any sense of relentless forward propulsion has been removed for passenger “comfort.” Flight’s theoretical beauty is deadened in the civility of your cabin interior; it becomes mundane.

I suppose what it all comes down to is that Alka’s sonic palette indicates his potential for manifesting adrenaline and launch. So why stop there? Why create a pressurized, ventilated version of life at sea level? I want my techno to be a fiery launch far from familiar ground, blasting into soaring unknowns on its 4/4 wings. Deployed hints at the power of such velocity, but for now, this is riding coach.

By Selena Hsu

Read More

View all articles by Selena Hsu

Find out more about Resopal

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.