Simon Pyke is one of the few electronica auteurs for whom the concept of the rhythmic preset holds little significance. ME SHAPE, a collection of tracks created by Pyke "for, between, and after live sets," is instead rife with tiny drum machine tics and clicks. Pyke's pseudorhythms swarm, cluster, and hop and bounce about, less bipedal beats than multi-legged infestations. If the programming is slightly less convoluted and bewildering than the free-associative anti-rhythms that pepper the extensive Freeform back-catalogue, the synth textures bobbing above it are even more succulent and satisfying than usual.
Pyke shapes melodies the way Jackson Pollack paints--with gooey spatters of metallic tones and drippy synth. The mingling of rich and chewy tuneful substance, wayward and weird tonalities, and percussive spasms actually places such Freeform frolics as "Arial Automatic," "Gni," and "Tangle" in league with the far-gone-and-out jazz of the Art Ensemble of Chicago or Sun Ra's COSMIC TONES FOR MENTAL THERAPY. Defying an apparent underlying randomness, irresistible grooves escape the composite abstraction and carry you along. Some caper along circular or recursive paths like headless pigeons, leading nowhere--until the clumps and dots suddenly shake themselves into a giddy groove that is pure momentum.