Disturbing yet beautiful ‘Simulation’ is Aleksi Perälä’s second album for the Clone Basement Series. At some point in your life you may have been told to truly listen, rather than to hear. This advice proves more than useful for this esoteric techno release. It is not background listening, what I mean is… to genuinely understand the work and complexity put into the 9 track album, a certain concentration is required.
What is gained for the time put in? A momentary escape from the day to day, a space like journey of thick, enveloping synths and cascading arpeggios that in a strange way calm the mind. There is a harshness to this music also, it’s irregular, this is down to Perälä’s continues use of the Colundi sequences developed by former Rephlex boss Grant Wilson-Claridge. This use of arpeggiated microtonality between notes has connotations closer affiliated with Indian, Thai and African tuning systems making them strange to western ears and assuring boredom is never an issue.
The album opens with ‘NLL561606931‘ a simple kick with a delayed pipe like bass is all that can be heard. 4 bars in and Perälä brings in his high frequency Colundi sequence, mirroring this are the rapid hi-hats setting the speed and tone of this track. The delayed tube bass moves to the top of the mix with an added phaser effect and yet another arpeggiated synth rises and cascades through the mix, similarly heard in Drexciya’s work. This should sound messy and crowded but Perälä has managed his spacing perfectly each sound complimenting rather than drowning out the other. Technically this track is complicated however Perälä has managed to tame these wild sequences into a beautifully calming piece of music. What is interesting is that the next couple of tracks flow so perfectly into one another that they could be presented as one huge mix, something he may have intended.
Aleksi Perälä & Grant Wilson-Claridge’s customised Colundi Sequence keyboard
“Rephlex Master Control” – Photo courtesy of The Wire
One which stands out is ‘NLL561606935′ not just because of the irregular drum pattern but rather the wet electro hit positioned flawlessly in the intended gaps. This sound is so unique as if a distorted gust of air was accidentally recorded in the studio. It is because of the obscurity of this Finnish producers work that has earned him the reputable reputation which he holds today. Especially being in an industry where standing out is key (visible by his successful predecessors: Aphex Twin, Dopplereffekt) Aleksi Perälä is showing like he has what it takes to cement his name alongside the best.
Then we have a darker side to Perälä’s work, one which maybe draws more from his IDM days. ‘NLL561606936′ is a saviour to any DJ trying to swiftly change the mood of the floor. Commencing with similar Colundi sequences heard in previous tracks a sudden decaying pattern is brought in over a harsh foot stomping kick. Then a high frequency vocal is filtered in and the harsh industrial techno ascends into a heavenly conclusion. This is seldom blended right, but when successful is a pleasure to listen to, keeping the audience on their toes. The last two tracks are made for the basement no doubt. The frequencies are deeper, the snare is harsher and ambient pads are void. ‘NLL561606938′ particularly holds an addictive bass line throughout. On climax, about 4 minutes in a high frequency synth, almost mimicking a Detroit tech style piano, is filtered in closing the track with a touch of soul.
Both disturbing and beautiful Perälä once again demonstrates his expertise at creating a well rounded album; for meditation as well as for the basement. In 2015, a former Resident Adviser interview mentions Perälä saying, “he sent me [the Colundi frequencies], and I just knew that was it. Done making music. Enough of Aleksi Perälä. It’s all about Colundi.” Now almost 3 years later Perälä has stayed true to his word with another album laced with Colundi, however, the structure of the tracks which encapsulates these frequencies demonstrates the forefront of techno and ambient music.
Simulation LP is out now, order a copy from Clone.