Octopus Inc

Fluid Freedom

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A bolder and more confident recording than Mere Things and Mindless Creatures (Noah Sasso's debut as Octopus Inc), his follow-up is also less predictable and more eccentric in its use of samples. Like its predecessor, it occupies a borderland between electronica and club techno, largely because of Sasso's refusal to knuckle under to the tyranny of the 4/4 techno beat. Granted, his avoidance is not total, and he provides several highly rhythmic workouts on this CD, most notably on "Sunburnt," an extended (and lively) electronic drum solo during which Sasso manages to mimic an entire ethnic percussion section. However, even though Sasso favors a rhythmic base rather than ambient drones, and uses his percussive tools with considerable skill, the results are usually too slow and too idiosyncratic for the dancefloor. The wheezing, growling, gasping percussion samples on "Thumbs Up" echo the rhythmic eccentricity of Matmos, and most of the 11 tracks have at least a modest glitch component -- vinyl surface noise, tiny cries, phantom choirs, muffled voices, and so on -- which puts Sasso roughly in the same category as artists such as Blectum From Blechdom, among others -- that is, those who choose to pursue a more personalized version of techno. Not a bad choice at all, and certainly more rewarding for the listener than much of what passes for IDM, which is quite often just the same ol' BPMs and 4/4 beats with a few weird samples thrown in for credibility. Equipment aside (and the importance of techno's shiny new tools is usually overrated) the only restrictions that Sasso really faces come from imaginative limitations. And his imagination seems to be in pretty good shape on this CD.

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