Astonishing rhythmic inventions from Mark Fell and percussionist Will Guthrie, messing with meter and space in a pair of ingenious, boundary-probing pieces arriving as Japan’s Nakid label’s debut release.
‘Infoldings’ combines synthesis and sinew in unpredictable, pointillist arrangements where Guthrie plays against patterns derived from Max MSP patches by Fell. The album’s two tracks are in this sense different to the man-machine concept of Fell’s acclaimed ‘Intra’ album, where he triggered performances by Portugal’s Drumming Grupo De Percussão to play a metallophone designed by Iannis Xenakis. Here, the pair find common/contrasting purpose in a probing of the rhythmic signatures of Gamelan and South Indian Carnatic musics, with groundbreaking, unusual results.
Recorded at HFG, Karlsruhe (where Fell is guest professor), and finished later in respective isolation, the two pieces were edited from iterations of call-and-response between Fell’s rhythmic patterns and Guthrie’s overdubs. They effectively propose beguiling and convincing solutions to electronic music’s problems with grid-lock, using illusive generative processing that appears to make physical actions seem unfeasibly effortless, while melting the computer’s clock to a real- time, free-hand syncopation.
On the taut, snapping structures of these two pieces they enact a form of quantum origami that sounds like an MIT-designed robot playing cubist jazz with a sense of mischief and complexity that recalls Fell’s studies of brownian motion on ‘Scale-Structure-Synthesis’ (2011), and strikingly builds on his creative relationship with Guthrie that started with their ‘Oglon Day’ (2019) album alongside Oren Ambarchi and Sam Shalabi. In all, it’s one of the most liquid, forward iterations of computer music you’ll likely hear this - or any other - year.