Frank Bretschneider

Balance

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This pairing of Frank Bretschneider and Taylor Deupree brings together two of the world's most celebrated ambient glitch producers. Both producers -- the former from Berlin, the latter from New York -- established themselves as masters of microscopic sounds, the sort of sine wave/white noise-based music central to the glitch aesthetic -- or at least the ambient side of the style. So when the two announced their partnership, anticipation mounted quickly. The result of their work -- exchanging patch files via email, with Bretschneider doing the initial mix and Deupree doing the final remixing and re-processing -- is showcased on Balance, a nine-track album released by Mille Plateaux in 2002. The album seamlessly mixes the nine tracks, which vary quite a bit -- relative to other ambient glitch full-lengths, at least -- from one track to the next. Some tracks, such as "Vertical Invader" and "Autodrive," are composed of primarily high-frequency click- and beep-like melodies, while other tracks, such as "Moving Light" and "Freeze Frame," add percussion and bass to the melodies. Bretschneider and Deupree construct these tracks around rhythms and melodies rather than still ambience, making this album quite a bit more accessible to the general electronica audience than your standard ambient glitch album. Moreover, since the duo incorporates a variety of sounds from one track to the next in addition to the rhythms and melodies, Balance is one of the more dynamic releases within the style as well. Considering the past work of these two producers, Balance tends to be greater than the sum of its parts; though both producers had released similarly excellent albums in previous years, their work had never been this dynamic. Only sometimes do collaborations such as this better the work of the individual producers, but in this case, Bretschneider and Deupree do so, resulting in one of the best ambient glitch albums of its era. Furthermore, Deupree designs the album's packaging and Bretschneider contributes Quicktime visuals for the track "Autodrive," adding yet more craft to an already well-crafted album.

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