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Para Review

by Andy Kellman

Compared to A Constant Moth, Chester Raj Anand's first album for Ghostly International, Para strikes as a more playful and sculpted synthesis of bygone and 2010s electronic-underground styles. Armed with sounds of vintage gear recorded at a hospitable Austin, Texas instrument shop, Anand created Para in a number of locations, yet the album sounds like it was made in deep, zoned-out concentration. Its track sequencing is fluid as well, even when the array of approaches verges on excessive. Anand puts his stamp on each strain. "Stars (Intro)," for instance, is a tech-step drum'n'bass spacewalk, beginning in ambient orchestral form before a careening breakbeat slowly comes into the field of play. Rather than utilize fragments of an easily traceable melismatic vocal, as so many drum'n'bass producers have done in the past, Anand incorporates an exclamation from a stage actor he recorded in India. The finessed "Stoked Tourist" combines a skyward synthesizer melody, an ecstatic falsetto vocal, acoustic guitar flecks, and bass hefty enough to rattle a trunk. The tracks that hold steadier house grooves, like the soft-bumping "Broken Computer," the tough "Flying Towards the Ground," and the rugged "Renaissance Endo," are delightfully off-center nonetheless. The last-mentioned highlight is particularly nutty, with what sounds like the intro from Stereolab's "Brakhage" fighting for room during the last 40 seconds. Apart from "H3000," with an Actress-like beat smudge, there's no mistaking Para as the work of anyone other than Lord RAJA.

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