Splinters' album, Metal Petals (out April 19 on Torrence's Woodson Lateral imprint), delves into the sleekly contoured, chilled, minimal electronica often heard on distinguished labels like 12k, Raster-Noton, and Mille Plateaux. While Torrence may look like the kind of guy who could bench-press your car, he's actually a skilled studio craftsman who forges delicately gorgeous melodies, pastel textures that don't cloy, and beats that subtly trigger graceful body movements. Torrence--who's been making a diverse range of music in numerous projects for 12 years--combines an aesthete's grasp of understated beauty and tranquil atmospheres with a sound scientist's scrupulous attention to tonal minutiae. The result is music that gets computer-science students moist while maintaining a sensuality that appeals to people who don't dream about coding. As a bonus, Splinters got the funk like Frank Bretschneider (AKA Komet, co-owner of Raster-Noton). If I ever get my urban ass to the Cascades, I'll take along Metal Petals for sonic inspiration.
Bruno Pronsato's 2005 has been insanely productive and eventful. As I reported in Data Breaker March 31, Mutek's directors invited Pronsato to its Montreal-based festival of experimental electronic music (Bruno plays the world-class event June 3). Also in June, Pronsato is slated to issue 12s on French label Philpot (run by Perlon artist SoulPhiction) and Seattle's Orac Records. Bruno's "Party Soap" will appear on Adjunct Records' inaugural EP, along with cuts by John Tejada, Pheek, and [a]pendics.shuffle.
But we're mainly here to discuss Pronsato's new vinyl-only EP for Akufen's Musique Risquée label, Ape Masquerade. Housed in an outrageously gauche sleeve bearing male and female sunbathers in skimpy swimwear, the 12-inch will surely draw gasps--a reaction that will also occur once those gawkers hear the vinyl's contents. "Auto Chico" pours eerily droning Rhodes piano and a meticulously detailed array of metallic textures and synthetic squiggles over rhythms that squelch like walruses copulating in a vat of Jell-O. "Dirty Goodbyes" and the Villalobos-lengthed "Ape Masquerade" take techno to the outermost regions of weirdness but still remain danceable. With a rare panache, Pronsato's productions freeze your blood as much as they heat a fire under your ass. DAVE SEGAL