Raglani ~ Real Colors of the Physical World

After several years of participating in different projects, Raglani returns with a new album under his own name, an electronic journey into the dreamtime of the here and now in the form of a myriad kosmische images of a humanity transcended. It will remind you of all those krautrock bands you already know by heart, except there is a very distinctive ‘mark of the new’ in terms of process, of how the pieces infinitely build up, growing like a pyramid in reverse, that might recall Sean McCann’s expansive drones. Yet, the only space here is defined within a game of harmonics: noises that bounce off bright Kraftwerk-like beats, elongated electronic screeches, muffled computer tones that evoke psychedelic meanderings… They all enter into a field of play in which there are dozens of little interactions between sounds, generating all sorts of contrasts (hi-low pitches, beat-like vs. constant, melodic vs. dissonant, etc.) that put the mind into the same wavelength as that of machine logic; every element is autonomous and yet fundamentally dependent, growing and growing out of a mix of play and programming, of creation and control, a map of the world in the lost age of cybernetics.

One needs only look at a forest in autumn to see that perhaps this is also how the Real Colors of the Physical World work, a perceptual, automatic collage-making that is valid only in one’s eyes as the green, red and yellow turn into shades of purple and orange with the slow passing of the sun. The insistence on the ‘real’ and ‘physical’ perhaps alludes to the sensory explosion that implies looking at the world as robot, as the sheer mental overload of the artificial coming to terms with its merging into something lesser, the infinite possibilities of play and space colliding with limits that are only apparent (for we find ourselves in a new place in the universe within each turn of the Earth). Where kosmische, still brimming with psychedelia, urged us to look beyond by looking within, this new kind of busy, noisy electronic experiment urges us to look within by looking beyond, to assume our status as cyborgs – forever online, forever traversing information-as-place – and look at the stars not with awe but with desire. Every bleep and bloop, every variation on the 70’s themes of nature and humanity transcended come back not as final destination but as part of a greater interaction that can’t take itself too seriously, for everything is not a reflection of possibilities for greatness but a reflection of a possibility of games, of shaping worlds, just like the electronic artist shapes sounds.

The album in its LP form is suitably divided into the diagram-like sections of A and B (an old division of sides that could be interpreted thus): while they imply a connection, it’s not necessarily a serial one, and it’s up to us to put it together as we like, to play with the record, not only just play it. A and B are long-form pieces composed of several parts each, lasting around twenty minutes without any clear narrative build-ups and downs; like ambient music, they grow in every direction and never look back. They are, arguably, the best parts of the album, if only for the scope of the exploration, a very thorough attempt at being the kind of music machines would listen to, pulsing with a noisy core that could very well be a form of communication (remember the little dissonant 56k modem tune?), the glass-fiber language of sound terraforming. C and D (in a 7”) present a shorter form, which is, however, a sort of condensation of the brightest parts of A and B, and which could remind the most of kosmische. The beats are fast and never break, and while not as free-form sounding as A and B, they are still very enjoyable as a kind of result of play – while the others are more like the ‘process of playing’, the setting of the rules of the game, these two short pieces are more like the ‘results’, the games themselves.

In the end, this is a great second full-length for Raglani, a fresh take on electronics in the style of the German masters, full of possibilities for taking over it however you see fit. (David Murrieta)

Available here

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