Sutekh
Fell
Ortholong Musork
2002
B

anatomy of a Splinter” begins Fell with a combination of free jazz drumming and clapping. It’s almost as if the audience, fed up with the ineptness of the drumming, is clapping in the hopes that the drummer will cease. Fifty two seconds later, the song abruptly fades out. Seth Horovitz, aka Sutekth, may be trying to make a statement about the hit and miss nature of the avant garde upon listeners in a live setting. He also may be attempting to indict the posers of the avant garde to stop trying, as discerning audiences are smart enough to figure out when someone is faking the funk. This is all speculation, of course.


What isn’t speculation, though, is the fact that Fell is the sound of Seth Horovitz blending the abstract and the accessible nearly seamlessly in an engaging manner. While Periods.Make.Sense seemingly switched back and forth between musique concrete ambience and soulful tech-house from song to song, Fell eliminates this by merging the two within each song.


This eagerness and, more importantly, ability to mix the obvious strengths garnered on that previous release come to full fruition here. Starting from “Gospel Train”, one finds that Horovitz masterfully balances underlying rhythms and overt melodic constructions. In a slowly seething mass, Horovitz guides the track to an ending that barely resembles the beginning. On Fell, it is obvious that Horovitz is dealing with a larger amount of elements in each song than ever before. Like a master painter, Horovitz uses each element as much as needed- and in the right places.


“Fire Weather” matches a simple melody with a house beat reminiscent of the ones found on Periods.Make.Sense. It’s the closest that Horovitz comes to repeating his previous work on this new release and, thankfully, doesn’t come off as simple retread. Instead, there is an increased interest on the melodic tensions and releases. This, however, doesn’t mean that Horovitz has abandoned the computer generated walls of sound frequently found in between the soothing tech-house tracks on Periods.Make.Sense.


“Recession Clouds”, in fact, represents one of Sutekh’s most sonically abrasive tracks yet recorded. Beginning with a uncharacteristic vocal sample, it is soon obscured by static. This pure static gives way to white noise that begins, eventually, to resemble a rhythm. Soon, a glitchy beat enters, infusing a funk to the white noise. This pairing of the house beat to the white noise seems almost incongruous in writing, but rest assured it works wonderfully in headphones.


By expanding his bank of sounds for this release, Sutekh has done himself a great service by enabling himself to create a more varied and dense listening experience. Instead of the almost hypnotic, trance-inducing house found on Periods.Make.Sense, Fell seems to allow itself the room to invoke many different emotions and responses to the music. At first, a more abstract and difficult listen than his previous work, eventually Fell becomes a much more richly rewarding listening experience.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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