Kit Clayton's Lateral Forces (Surface Fault) is as strong (even stronger at times) than anything Fennesz has released. It allies the best of both worlds: electro-acoustic abstraction and techno roots, making it a cutting-edge record of wider appeal. It derives from a similarly titled EP. Here, the composer has taken his original tracks apart to reconstruct them into an extended (loose) narrative. The subject: seismic activity. Most of the music is derived from field recordings of rocks grinding against each other, streaming water, and rubbles rolling down a slope. But a documentary this is not. The theme provides a mood and a context, but it remains subsumed to the music. Elements of glitch and musique concrète are backed by IDM tracks. The second of the seven untitled sections also features a nice dub groove. These elements are not piled on top of one another to create a Frankenstein hybrid. They have been integrated, forming a clear musical vision. The absence of any melody is not felt like a fault (after all, rocks don't sing, right?). On the other hand, it would have been easy to rely only on rhythmic material (as disorganized it may have been) to translate an earthquake into music. Clayton is more subtle than that, pairing microsonic details and a macro-structure. The album begins with the first discernible vibrations, moves on to the epicenter, and ends smoothly with nature going back to normal. Then again, the listener can ignore this concept and simply enjoy the finely crafted tunes. The fact that Lateral Forces (Surface Fault) can be enjoyed on many levels is what makes it stand out.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture