Peder Mannerfelt - Lines Describing Circles [Digitalis - 2014]Peder Mannerfelt has been recording for years under the name The Subliminal Kid (not to be confused with DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid). After releasing a few singles under his own name, Digitalis give us his first full length, Lines Describing Circles. Stepping out of the dance scene, Peder goes full dark electronics on this one. It's a pretty solid release, too, hitting more marks than it misses, but it lacks the cohesion to bring it to the next level.
Lines Describing Circles starts off with deep bass hits and buzzy, rising oscillations on "Collapsion." The drum hit eventually lessens in depth but takes on a simple three beat pattern. It feels like something is being built instead of collapsing, but it's a quality track either way. On "Lines Describing Circles," Peder is the closest to sounding like his output as The Subliminal Kid. A head nodding groove and gritty John Carpenter-esque synth hidden in the back propel it forward. It never gets full on dance, but it would be a great track to play when clearing out a vampire night club. "Affricate Consonants" continues the MO here and combines subtle drum hits with crispy, floating synths. You can see his background peeking through on this album, but that's very understandable. "Gulo Gulo Caesitas" ups the pace nicely. The looped beat has an industrial quality to it and plays like a less harsh Dissecting Table. Pretty cool track. "Alpha Waves" switches the pace, but not the mood. Dreams, sure, but cyberpunk dreams! Peder takes an impressive leap from dance to dark, electronic drone on "Nihilist 87." This gritty, nighttime-in-a-run-down-city of a track is my favorite on the album (we'll, tied with the title track). I'm glad he moved outside his comfort zone on this. "In Place of Once Was" is like a companion piece to "Collapsion." They work very similarly, but "In Place" is a brighter song. Nice, but the darkness gives it more stones.
Three tracks were omitted from the above paragraph in order to keep the bad apples from spoiling the bunch. "Derrvish" and "Rotterdam Anagram" are very similar tracks. There's a clicky drum beat and sparse, unfun synth work on top. The lack of structure to them takes me right out. This could be right up someone's alley, but it ain't mine. "Evening Redness In the West" should be in the above paragraph. It starts out with a nice, creepy jungle vibe (the actual jungle, not the music style). However, some lousy, looped voice comes on and repeats "barren," "horizon," "filth," "mesa," "bowie knife," and "blood" (each word a bunch before moving onto the next) and it really ruins this song. I can understand the want for a message, but there are better ways to get your point across than this.
Overall, Lines Describing Circles is a very entertaining listen. I doubt I will ever listen to it again, but if some songs come up during shuffle, I'll let them play out. If Peder continues to release music in this vein, I would definitely check it out. Can't guarantee I'll like it, but he's at 70% in my book, and that's good enough for me.Paul Casey