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Anders Ilar - Everdom

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Artist: Anders Ilar

Album: Everdom

Label: Shitkatapult

Review date: Apr. 2, 2003

Opaque Scandinavia

Over the past decade, more and more attention has been focused on the art and music scenes of Scandinavia. There have always been thriving independent communities in many mediums of expression all over the region, but recently there appears to have been an artistic revolution of sorts Ė and the whole world is watching. In Norway, the Rune Grammafon label produces promising work from artists like Supersilent, Food, and Alog. Denmark is home to a prosperous avant-garde jazz movement as well as some of todayís most highly acclaimed electronic artists and producers. Finnish electronic heavyweights Pan Sonic and rock outfit Circle are only partly responsible for garnering the recognition of Germany's neighbors to the north. A resurgence of garage-rock in Sweden has expanded outward from its capital of Stockholm and reached all the way across the pond into the indie and mainstream markets of the United States. While all of these artists enjoy varying degrees of fame in other parts of world, all have contributed to a flourishing music scene that encompasses experimental, jazz, electronic, and rock genres alike.

Anders Ilar is one of the latest to emerge from this cultural wellspring. With his own brand of minimal dub and techno, Ilar has formally recorded under the aliases of Outsize and Rend. As Outsize, he appeared on a 12" compilation with Torpid for Finnish label Pinesky. Under his Rend moniker, he released two 12" records for the Plong! label out of Cologne, titled Inter (2001) and Wallflower (2002). He has also self-released two mixed CD-Rs, Midnight Excursion (2001) and How Deep Is Your Love (2002), under the same name.

Ilar's first release under his own name was with Replik in 2002 for Marco Haas' (aka T. Raumschmiere) Shitkatapult label out of Berlin. A 12" featuring three tracks of soulful minimal techno, Replik (translated as 'retort' or 'reply' in English) is wonderfully bass-heavy, intensely focused and playfully reserved. Danceable liquid beats and contagious rhythms make Replik a perfect taste of the new sound of Anders Ilar, or so one would think.

Making a home for himself at Shitkatapult, Ilar now returns with his first full-length entitled Everdom. The album opener, "Coastline", is a disjointed mix of shallow beats, harmonic strings, and the low-end rumblings of muffled electronics that skates along the edge, never daring to dive in. Before taking the anticipated leap, Ilar switches gears to the drone track "Rare Islands" filled with ethereal chimes and subtle tones. It becomes apparent that what might have been expected was never guaranteed.

It's not just the titles of Ilarís songs that induce images of multiple landscapes and tangible atmospheres. Almost immediately, the beat subsides and in its place is a regression of reverb and echoes that sustain the bucolic conditions. It is not until half way through Everdom, during the ten minute long "Make Believe", a pulse is regained and a driven bass beat collides with the dense pressure of synthesized sonic waves. Underneath Ilarís budding balance of passive-aggressive, however, is a preference to remain submerged.

Not once during the following tracks, "Illusion of a Summerbreeze" or "December Haze", does this pressure subside. The tension eventually transforms itself into a peaceful acceptance as Ilar plunges deeper into the saturated layers of his creation. He precariously negotiates each advance as the sounds turn murky, dark and eventually fade to black.

It is entirely possible that Everdom marks a proclamation of dissolution, a bookend to Ilarís 12Ē catalog. DJs looking forward to incorporating a new single into their techno rotation are not going to find it here; itís not really a techno album at all. Comfortable and stabile, Everdom escapes the dance floor and alludes to a place indeterminable by geography that is both welcoming and mysteriously unpredictable. No questions asked. No answers given.

By Nicole Mandala

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