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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Antistatic – Relics (Cuneiform Records, 2024)

By Guido Montegrandi

Cuneiform record is celebrating its 40th year with an impressive series of releases and Relics by Antistatic is no exception.

This is the first full length work that the Copenhagen-based band has released, and the result is quite powerful. Though the line up of the band - two guitars, bass and drums- could lead into rock-something territories, the percussive style that characterizes the four musicians has its roots in the minimalist experience and also in the post-industrial soundscape. “Our music wouldn’t have been made if it hadn’t been for drum machines, or industrial machines in general,” says guitarist Laust Moltesen Andreassen in an interview contained in the press release. It is worth noting, however, that the band do not use any kind of drum-machine or looper in developing their intricate repetitive patterns. Guitarist, Mads Ulrich observes: “To me, the act of physically repeating all of these parts and rhythms instead of using loopers or other sorts of machines is a sort of meditation. It’s keeping body and mind active enough that thoughts just kind of disappear... It’s about having time to enter a kind of meditative, trance-like state while playing” (again, from the press release interview).

The first piece 'Angels vs Peasants' introduces the listener into the mood of the work - again Mads Ulrich: “We think we’re creating a logic in a composition just by repeating stuff, It’s quite common throughout our songs—and that draws a thread back to the ‘classical’ vibe of composers like Steve Reich and compositions that are just purely about repetition, or about some kind of simple rhythm.” (once more from the press release interview). The instruments find a common voice and a texture that develops throughout the piece into different sections of interweaving rhythms.

As the work develops, the focus remains on carefully planned rhythmic textures with every musician contributing seamlessly to the final effect, it is all about sharing and the result leaves space to a variety of solutions and atmospheres that make listening to this music a pleasure. 'Hive I and Hive II' are based on the same rhythmic pattern but represent very different approaches - dry and essential 'Hive I' - energetic and rocking 'Hive II.' The title track 'Relics,' in its different sections, sums up the attitude of the band producing a many-sided sonic itinerary.

Definitely not free jazz or improvised music but creative music nonetheless and absolutely worth listening.

The booklet associated to this work, apart from the usual photos of the band, includes nine black and white pictures associated to each track that further enhances the link with minimalism and makes the listening suggestions even more stimulating. Something for the eye too.

You can buy and download it on bandcamp

And you can also watch two live sessions (without public) on Youtube: