Dan Abrams

Stream

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Following his celebrated work as Shuttle 358 for the New York-based 12k label, Germany's Mille Plateaux invited Dan Abrams to release an album on their label that would tie into the ambient-glitch motifs being explored by the well-regarded label at the time. Stream is the result of his efforts, an incredibly subtle and quiet album featuring 12 moderately lengthed tracks that are essentially variations on the same motif -- meticulously looped glitches laid atop almost inaudible ambience. It's a fairly simple formula, and one that isn't exactly novel circa mid-2001, a good two years into the quickly established glitch movement. But if Abrams' work here isn't innovative on the surface, he compensates with a clinical approach and a well-crafted execution. The album's title, Stream, alludes to Abrams' software-employed composition approach ("stream" is a software term that deals with indexing data), an approach that most casual listeners probably won't grasp, though a select few computer fetishists should marvel at the producer's technical methodology. Whether or not you can appreciate this album's "streaming" approach, it's hard not to appreciate Abrams' execution. His glitch rhythms/melodies truly shimmer with glossy nuance, and his ambient backdrops intrude on an almost strictly peripheral level. In sum, it may take more than a casual listen -- and perhaps even numerous studied listens -- to grasp the beauty of the music, but when you really zone into the music, the surface simplicity suddenly becomes quite mood-inducing and, perhaps to an even further degree, hypnotic.

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