This week's Oscillate offers the unusually flavorful bill of Swedish producer Andreas Tilliander and New Jersey DJ/producer/Environ Records magnate Morgan Geist, together for the first time (partially due to the Red Bull Music Academy). This should be interesting.
The best place to start your Tilliander studies is with Elit (Mille Plateaux, 2002), a heady exploration of glitchy, fractured funk bathed in hazy whorls of digital ectoplasm. It's a mystery why American rappers haven't Blackberry-ed Tilliander to lace some Nordic magic into their tracks. "Duplicity," featuring the alpha-male rapping of Fu Dogg, is a paragon of glitch-hop, sounding like a series of power-squatting rhythm boxes. "When Routine Bites Hard" is gorgeous, aquatic dubhop. Also check "Nerdy South" off the Clicks & Cuts 3 compilation, a louche, Scandinavian inversion of Hotlanta rhythmic schematics over which Andre 3000 would flip (the script). Elit is one of the finest specimens of the short, spasmodic clicks & cuts movement.
Under the name Mokira, Tilliander freeze-dries interiorized glitch funk à la the great Frank Bretschneider (for whose Raster-Noton label Mokira issued Cliphop). On Album and FFT POP, Mokira similarly takes ambient music to a virtual Antarctica and crystallizes it into weird new shapes.
Some of Tilliander's recent work shifts toward glossier, more driving 4/4 propulsion that embraces the "digital disco" ethos Force Inc. was pushing a few years ago, while also dabbling in schaffel techno. A distressing fondness for cloying, cheesy vocals mars this new output; Tilliander operates best sans singers and affected sheen. The deeper he goes, the better he sounds.
Geist has built a vast discography out of the fertile nexus where soulful, night-cruisin' Detroit techno and limber-limbed electro meet. "I Want To..." off the Freezone 4 comp exemplifies this approach, with levitational synth pads and rugged yet sensual whip-crack funk rhythms. The Vaseline-lensed electro of "Lullaby" (on Erlend Øye's DJ-Kicks album) reveals Geist's romantic side. And Fabric Club DJ Craig Richards chose "Food and Fuel" to enhance his dark, psychedelic electro mix Fabric 15: Tyrant, which makes paranoia sound delectable. The latter track comes from Geist's out-of-print 1997 LP The Driving Memoirs, which is regarded as the finest release by cult British electronic label Clear.
Geist also plays in Metro Area with Darshan Jesrani. Their self-titled 2002 album stands as one of the decade's most impeccably produced and puissant electro-disco albums. Album highlight "Miura" possesses a potently mesmerizing quality, weaving a stoned reverbed bass line, clipped, clap-enhanced beats, Laurie Anderson-esque "oh oh"s, and seductively frazzled synth tones into a definitive dance jam. The whole disc oozes class, and when it's playing it makes you feel about five times richer than you actually are. The zeit is right for Geist. DAVE SEGAL
Tilliander and Geist play with Electrosect and Greg Skidmore Tues Nov 8 at Baltic Room, 1207 E Pine St, 625-4444, 9 pm–2 am, $10, 21+. Tilliander also plays Sun Nov 6 at Wall of Sound, 315 E Pine St, 441-9880, 6 pm, free, all ages.