Cristian Vogel

Beginning to Understand

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Chilean techno producer Cristian Vogel has always been the experimental sort, yet he has managed to avoid the IDM tag due to the muscular chug that lies beneath most of his oblique productions. On his first album, recorded for the Force Inc. sub-label Mille Plateaux, Vogel's distinct combination of harsh electronic squawks and squeaks is already firmly in place, as are his dark and moody dancefloor effects. Admittedly, the opening cut, "Machine," is firmly in tune with the heady earphone electronica of Autechre, but the following "Sub-Aqua" abandons any pretense that this is abstraction for beauty's sake. In fact, the growling bass and clanging metallic chimes that fill this album are quite the opposite of beautiful. Bold, exciting, and interesting -- but certainly not beautiful. The flanged jack-step of "Alien Conversation" missteps the beat repeatedly and intentionally while the overloaded electro machines on "Scorpio" fuss and grind. Only "Going the Distance" and "Space Between Stars" maintain the restraint needed for DJ use, the latter even employing some prototypical trance builds. But Vogel is anything but a mainstream dance producer, neither relying on peak-hours hits or the experimental cult of personality to keep his name at the forefront of electronic music.

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