Nerve Net Noise - Dark Garden (Intransitive, 2008)

A recent peak in interest in the more metronome driven side of electro-synthesis has found me digging up this recording from Japanese based Nerve Net Noise. I remember being pretty intimidated of this band a few years ago after I had read somewhere that you'd have to appreciate the sound of a car alarm to really "get it." Some of the other NNN material definitely delves into car alarm territory, but on Dark Garden we see main man Hiroshi Kumakiri approaching the music from a slightly different angle.

The tracks here mostly border on what one might refer to as a type of techno, one that is as austere as it is deranged. We are quickly introduced to Kumakari's repertoire of unusual sounds, and to what becomes a very similar rubric for nearly every track: introduce the sounds and barely change them for 4-6 minutes. With that said, NNN are impressive in what they can express with little more than a stripped down beat and some well timed bleeps and bloops. Also, these tracks do change, but subtly, overtime, and it becomes the task of the keen-eared listener to be able to remain present for those changes. The latter half of the album sees less of a stress on the beats, with tracks like snail and the fantastic Breath that are more a take on classic minimalism rather than the aforementioned kitchen-sink techno.

I think it's perhaps easy to be put off by this material, but it's worth it for those with the patience. For fans of Omit, KFW, any of the limited Creel Pone discs, and maybe for the more daring Kompakt, Basic Channel and Raster-Noton fans.

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