The latest artistic identity from Jeff Witscher, Rene Hell, gives him a chance to meld a variety of strands of electronic music -- from cryptic space rock variants to post-glitch instability -- into a brief, strong album. But the dominant feeling of Porcelain Opera might, if anything, be tied into the revival of interest in what's been tagged as minimal synth -- over the album's six songs, Witscher seems to be aiming for a kind of suggestiveness in his music, almost encouraging a listener to lean forward so as to catch more. Most of the songs readily aim at a kind of immediate unease, with whirling vocal samples -- or perhaps even less readily identifiable sounds -- matched with restrained, ominous tones. Sometimes, as on "Prize Mischief Hold," beats add a rumbling drive to the combination; at other points, as on "C. G. Mask," it's more free-floating strangeness. Not everything is aiming at gloom and doom, though -- "IV 18:54" first introduces a full dreaminess that is just that, instead of a strange nightmare, a glazing of keyboards and textures that gently mutates. "L. Minx," the penultimate song, acts as a good balance point between the impulses, first providing more stretched out melancholy that shudderingly shifts into a calmer zone as if a climax has been achieved. In all, it's an intriguing, enjoyable listen, and if Witscher wishes to continue work in that vein, results could be all the more involving.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett