One Over Zero is the kind of electronica album it seemed like people had stopped making about ten years ago, but that's not to say that it sounds in any way dated or out of step; it's just that the level of invention and enthusiasm it displays has been sorely lacking in the more auteur-oriented end of IDM since the days when artists like Aphex Twin and Luke Vibert were in full flower. There are a few guests contributing guitar, drums, etc. to the album, but for the most part, One Over Zero is a one-man-show masterminded by one Trayer Tryon, who uses all the tools at his command to create a sonic patchwork quilt that's at once endlessly surprising and warmly inviting, the kind of thing you want to wrap yourself in even as it consistently shifts its structure and shape with each new wrinkle. Trayer doesn't seem to fancy himself a beatmeister, preferring instead to take a more atmospheric/abstract approach to electronic music-making, incorporating syncopated rhythms at various times, but seldom making them the focal point of the tracks. Big, fat, ambient synth tones pop up on both the top and bottom ends of the mix, and when they blend with the guitar work of Paul Giese, they create a truly organic feel, but there's also no shortage of whacked-out, left-field elements rearing their heads at unexpected moments, from bursts of cut-up spoken-word snatches to spacy effects and sections where it seems like you're watching a warped version of the whole track in some musical fun house mirror. You might be tempted to call One Over Zero an ambient record at times -- it's got it's share of ethereal moments -- but in the end, there's just too much going on to be able to safely file it under that designation. So let's just say Trayer has arrived at the opportune moment in socio-cultural history to bring us complex music for complex times.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Allen