Upland - Self-Titled
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Upland
Self-Titled

Upland is the pseudonym of one Knut Andreas Ruud, and after only a few tracks of this shorter release, it's easy to hear different groups and influences peeking through. Actually, one group comes to mind more than anyone else, and if you're a fan of Autechre and their fractured soundscapes, you'd probably best get out and pick this up straightaway, as Booth and Brown and Ruud are creating music along the same somewhat damaged and deconstucted paths.

In fact, had someone thrown this release in my CD player and skipped to track number 2 (titled "Twin Gap") and told me to name the release and artist that it was from, I honestly would have said something like "Peel Session 3 by Autechre." Of course, that doesn't exist, and while some artists hate to be compared to other artists, it's nearly inescapable here. The track shudders and jerks along with a completely off-kilter rhythm, flits of electronic noise clicking along while warm rushes pile on in the background. "-nd Falling" again layers sputtering, chopped-up beats and oddly shimmering electronic tones over one another, coming together in what seems like almost random patterns, until you realize that's all part of the plan. It's beauty in chaos, and while it sounds like a beehive full of mechanical bees, there's a slight method to the madness that will keep some listeners in tune.

The whole album isn't composed of head-jerking cut-ups, though, and the minimal ambience of "Root" and speedy rumbling of "Carrier Down" (which marries a bastardized two-step low-end married to a melodic ambient glitch). The closing track of "Marshgate" is the epic of the release, opening with another frantic rhythm before piling on mechanical breathing noises and more of those warm melodic tones as the skittering threatens to go haywire. After fading out only a couple minutes in, there's a couple minutes of dead quiet before a thick, trashed-out schizo (complete with distorted vocals) electronic track comes in to complete the release.

In all, it adds up to just over a half hour of music, and while there are some different styles that the release goes through, it definitely keeps a similar mood. Like the artwork of the release in which a pattern of perfect circles are visually degraded (like graffiti left on a wall for ages) and juxtapozed against a variety of stark backgrounds, the music has a feel of industrial and electronic decay. Patterns break down and sometimes re-emerge while sometimes your mind tries to force order on the chaos. Not exactly easy listening, but Autechre (yes, them again) will eat it up.

rating: 6.7510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00