Various Artists

Maschinelle Strategeme

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Along with Mille Plateaux and Position Chrome, Ritornell is yet another sublabel of the mammoth German techno label, Force Inc, focusing on a dissonant style of highly processed digital music that often crosses the boundary of ambient soundscapes into ear-covering industrial noise. The 15 featured artists here -- Autopoieses, Terre Thaemlitz, Taylor Deupree, Kim Cascone, etc. -- each present their own individual sound collage, where textured tones clash with one another, occasionally uniting harmoniously with other sounds but most often creating juxtaposing collisions that result in piercing sounds from another world where red clouds obscure sunlight. Anyone fascinated by the outer reaches of tolerable music should treat this as a mandatory introduction to a daring label attempting to go where no producers have gone before -- and where only the most courageous listeners may want to follow. The postgraduate-level liner notes titled "Distributed Modules and Layers in Post-Digital Music" map out an underlying ultrahigh-brow ideology justifying the need for such cacophonous sounds. But if "modules" seems foreign, just remember that this is inaccessibility at its finest and most elitist.

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