Sunday, March 14, 2021

Ignaz Schick & Oliver Steidle - ILOG2 (Zarek, 2021) ****

By Keith Prosk

Ignaz Schick and Oliver Steidle freely play eccentric beat music for electronics and drums that’s closer to instrumental hip hop and rhythmic plunderphonics than jazz or classical on the unabashedly fun sound collage, ILOG2.

While Schick’s label, Zarek , has so far released digital-only archival recordings, ILOG2 and its 2xCD sister release, Altered Alchemy , mark a turn towards physical formats, and ILOG2 is the first non-archival entry, released just months, rather than years, after recording. The ILOG duo began performing around 2013, releasing their first record in 2015, and, while this isn’t a massive leap from the frenetic noise of their early music , it integrates recognizable nods to jungle, dub techno, and hip hop that reinvigorates the approach with head-bobbing energy. On this recording, Schick uses turntables, a voltage-controlled sampler, and looper/pitch shifter; Steidle uses drums, percussion, sampler, and kaosspad.

And Steidle’s beats are hyperactive, crashing and skittering across cymbals and snares with stuttering bass drum bumps. Cutting from theme to theme but briefly coalescing into jungle grooves, four on the floor, Bonhamesque bombast, or lumbering dub techno low end. Schick scratches, clicks cuts and crackles, thrums and throbs electric, and samples soul violin, spoken word and film, classical, and iconic radio rap snippets. Beats divide and subdivide in intricate polyrhythms. Electric fibrillations; palpitating drums; cocaine pulses. Darren Aronofsky’s hip hop montages fed back into sound to forge this frankenstein of outsider party music. Closer to the oddest tendencies of Madlib, FlyLo, DJ Shadow, and DJ Krush than anything else coming out of the Berlin improv scene. The saxless sonic companion to the melting R&B and IDM of Wobbly’s “saxgag” that I never knew I needed. And I don’t mean to sample snitch, but hearing a maelstrom of Jadakiss and Snoop Dogg topped off with Lil Jon yelling “sweat drop down my balls” in the middle of a blistering drum solo is sure to crack a smile on your face. There are a few slower, textural minutes, including the comedown of the last track, but the best are certainly the high-density, high-volume, sample-happy “There is no escaping” and “In your face.”

A lot of the music covered here is self-serious and any humor a little high-brow or attached to a punk aesthetic. ILOG2 refreshingly marries the spheres of noise and improv with dance and pop in a way that maintains both the intellectualism and fun of each.

ILOG2 is available on CD and digitally.

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