Dislocated Review

Dislocated, Comatonse Recordings, C.019, Japan, currently available

Review by Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow Up (Italy), #144, May 2010.

English translation (original Italian text at bottom):

Coming out on Terre Thaemlitz's label, this is the first appearance of Johnathan F. Lee, visual artist and composer of soundtracks for installations, choreography, ballets and videos who is currently working as an Assistant Professor and co-director of the Computer Music Division in the Media Arts department at a university in Tokyo. His CD collects music composed between 2003 and 2010 for very different contexts, but it does not lack a very solid cohesion, so it could be inserted in a hypothetical compartment of the exact opposite part of the dubstep spectrum found today in Scuba: while Paul Rose hardens the sound in a dance format, Lee breaks it, dilutes it, opens it up, stretches it, extendes it and remodels it as plasticine, and makes the music coming to the surface literally dislocated and scattered in the air. The sequence of the tracks seem to render the adopted process: in the opening, In The Shadows sets the bases with a still regular downtempo, after which the (marvelous) title track establishes the state of the art of dubstep form, then Ritual Roundabout begins a rhythmic stammering of percussive improvisations and hiccuping voices that will reveal itself as irresistible in the following tracks. The loss of equilibrium is an inescapable fate: Deconstructed Symbologies is the vain restoring effort of funk that drowns in the quicksand, after that the rhythm vanishes and disperses and everything breaks into harsh frequencies (Pacifica), into ambient a la Stars of the Lid (Praeludium Ex Caelum) and dark whirlpools that sound with the memory of the mephistophelian isolationism of Lustmord (poursuite d'un mirage mécanique, In The Shadows Part 2). Only in appearance two-faced, but in anyway difficult to relate with the rest the dubstep universe (a definition that, as a guess, the author himself would not like), "Dislocated" could stand perfectly in the section "rhythm" - the first half here and the second there - and would work just as well: it brings to the extreme the conventions of the genre showing the genesis and destiny, the opposites and assumptions, the more intimate chemistry and the sentiments of strangeness and loss. (8)

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