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Undo Review

by François Couture

The second album from Cray (Australian experimental electronica artist Ross Healy) delivers all the promises held by the track included on Bip-Hop Generation, Vol. 4 a few months earlier. Cray pushes the envelope of laptop electronica, shamelessly crossing borders between experimental techno, ambient, musique concrète, and sound art, and all of it is done with constant attention to drama. If some pieces can be quite abstract -- even confusing -- at times, they rarely fall prey to the culprits of the genre: self-indulgence, process over results, etc. Glitches, clicks, buzzes, and electrical hums cohabit with synthesizer atmospheres and warped field recordings to create unsteady soundscapes. Undo comes just short of having a clear "signature sound," so to speak, something commanding in the oversaturated field of experimental electronica, where more and more artists sounded alike by 2002. The music on Undo is challenging and will test your patience, but it also rewards the attentive listener with odd contrasts, unexpected turns, and deceiving gestures, like the best moments of Farmers' Manual, Rehberg & Bauer, Pita, or Pimmon. The exhilarating "Rahos," the manic-depressive "wdd56-broadband," and the almost melodic (in a Fennesz way) "Forna" stand out. If titles like these put you off, don't venture here. Otherwise, you are in for a nice treat. The CD contains an hour of music plus a very good art video for "Forna" by Marcus Struzina.

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