City Paper is not for tourists
Unlike in the chill-out vibes of its past, there is a lot of anxiety in today’s ambient-leaning electronica. Records by German experimentalists Oval may lean toward soothing wombadelica, but there are threatening undertones kicking around their sonic bellies, while Brit sound forgers Autechre compute math-equation music that makes serialist compositions sound pop. Nervous disorders appear at the heart of Japanese duo Bisk’s third offering, Ticklish Matters, which approximates John Cage performing as Rain Man’s Raymond Babbitt. Bisk’s compositions sound like phonetic bits of fake foreign words smashed togetherits music goes scritch and spish, kritch and zerip, calip and beroop as vague beats keep time like a broken watch. “Foggy Photo” and “Break in the Clouds” sound like someone flipping radio stations in the family room as a demented pianist plays in the den. “Beautiful Running Hand” is like jungle for Teletubbiesgentle but crazed. But perhaps the titles “Piano Music by Error System” and “Whistle for Drumming” best describe Biskand I have no idea what they mean. Ticklish Matters is anxious ambiance to supplement that premillennium tension.