Following up on 2000's cl;ck and ~sine, Pulse expands on Radboud Mens' concept of minimal techno. Still on a mission to track down, capture, and display the skips, clicks, glitches, and other mishaps of the digital age, Mens delivers an immersive experience that remains confined to the rules and expectations of the genre. Limited to abstracted frequencies and cycling patterns, the music is cold and shifts between distant constructions and wholly immersive passages (especially when Mens works up the lower end of the frequency range). The album consists of six untitled cuts ranging between six and 20 minutes in duration. They form a homogenous whole and strongly feel like movements of a single work. Some of them (especially tracks four and six) are typical minimal techno pieces with a light minimal dub flavor. Track three stands out, mostly because of its gritty, scraping high-end sounds, reminiscent of Pan Sonic or COH. Occasionally, Mens manages to transcend the genre: in terms of mood and sonic palette, track five is actually much closer to the awkward dreaminess of number stations recordings than the surgical certainties of digital glitch. These aural illusions draw a parallel with the album's artwork, sets of superimposed straight lines emanating from two different centers and printed on the jewel case itself, the crisscrossing lines creating the impression of curves where there aren't any. The lack of any information on the case is an invitation to thoroughly explore such illusions.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture