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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Lagowski - Secrets of Numbers [zoharum - 2020]

Secrets of Numbers severs up ten slices of edgy, at times darkly brooding techno focused IDM- which is fairly complex & dizzying in it’s building layers/ detail, yet sleek & controlled in its attack.

The man behind this project is Englishman Andrew Lagowski- who started working in electronic music in the early 1980’s- first the project Nagamatzu( with Stephen Jarvis) where the pair blended post-punk, electro-industrial texturing & noise bound soundscapes. In 1988 he started the Lagowski project, which has seen him focusing on a more purely electronic techno focused sound. Secrets of Numbers is seemingly his first new work with the project since 2017, though he’s also behind projects like S.E.T.I., and the more dark ambient focused Legion- with the first project staying fairly active too.

This new ten-track album appears on Polish experimental/ electronica label Zoharum- as a CD in a dull laminated digipak which for its artwork features what looks like  pictures of lines of shadowy boxes shot from the top. The ten-track album slides in at seventy-six minutes, with the ten tracks, having running times between four & twelve minutes apiece. Lagowski take on techno focused IDM utilizes both old school, and new tech to create a sound that nods back towards 90’s atmospheric techno but adds in sleek & detailed modern production & subtle modern tech detail.

The album moves from the sinister-to-moody synth drone harmonics, meets building beat structure detail of the albums second track “Bomkele”. Onto the epic twelve-minute twenty seconds “Huhu 5 mix 1b” which blends & shifts early 90’s body-popping synth texturing, spiralling techno beat structures, chip ’n’ slice noise detail ala early Autechre- with squelching-to-brooding ambient synth lines. Towards the latter part of the album we have the glitching beats meets tight throbbing baselines of “Huh 3 mix 1B”- which features a great shadowy & sliding ambient melody  beneath it.  The album is finished off with the nine and a half minutes of “Time Is An Abyss”- this opens with a looped sample of an eastern European saying something like ‘I love the darkness of the shed’, and Lagowski adds in first slowly simmer synth malevolence, then moodily hissing & snapping beat structures- which once again build & layer up in a most rewarding manner.

Aside from hearing bits & bobs of S.E.T.I, I believe Secrets of Numbers is the first full album of work I’ve heard from Mr. Lagowski- and while it’s not anything terribly original or mold-breaking, as often darkly atmospheric techno focused electronica this is rather rewarding & effective…prefect for either a late-night car trip or as the soundtrack for reading a darkly sleek & edgy Sci-fi novel.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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