Transalp wasn’t recorded in the Alps, nor does it sound particularly frosty; but the cover image connotes cold, reflecting Ben Jacov’s desire to find a place in which all color and contour are lost. The artist celebrates the experience of white ~ the coexistence of all colors in light. Transalp‘s purity of sound sparkles like light on snow, while occasionally threatening to topple like a glacier. The closing minute of “notturno lucis” features the sound of imminent crumble, while the high pitched tones of the title track imply ice.
And yet, Jacov can’t help but sound warm. The title track’s electric guitar wraps around the listener like a cotton coat, and the closing glockenspiel sounds like an invitation to a home-cooked meal. Add Aikoaiko’s sweet voice on “notturno lucis”, ethnic chanting on two tracks and marimba on the closing piece, and the timbre turns downright cozy. Like Jacov, the listener imagines being transported to a different place, a safe place in which the imagination is free to roam. The invention of the term “trance music” – which this techno EP often references – is that of time distortion, a journey in which drugs are not necessary (but are often used). Were it not for the spaces between tracks, the listener would be plunged into a chasm of white.
No superfluous sounds are present. The EP is so well mastered that even the fuzz is defined. In a word: purity. Patterns repeat, but swiftly retreat, never more so than the swift synthesizer of “tessera lepta”. On the one hand, we can imagine remixes built upon the retreating riff; on the other, the EP is perfect as it is. “lpsää” is the early choice for a single, a swiftly-building piece whose bottom falls out in the middle; but any will do. This is a great debut for a performer whose work already needs no alteration. (Richard Allen)