Philip Maier's LACK is a logical extension of the time he has spent pushing boundaries in other acts. Whether cutting up post-punk and digital pop tropes in VVAQRT or rerouting electronics to the stars in Sagan Youth, Maier loves to tinker with form. His outlet for warped, alternately gorgeous and garish techno-based compositions, LACK picks up on this spirit. His two major releases from 2015, Atemporal and Perhorresces, use it to build broad, involving structures from simple ideas.
Released last month, Atemporal trends toward the experimental side. While patches of light occasionally shine through these songs, the record feels like a maze of abstract electronics and elliptical percussion. But as you lock into the logic, you hear Maier toying with rhythm. Elements careen in and out unexpectedly. "Paddhereen" suggests an exploration of the earth's interior, with strange, throbbing echoes resonating from crevices unknown. "Multum In Parvo" revels in muscular bass and spiraling synths. The wide sense of space and eerie mechanical lurches suggest an overhead drone, documenting the dying sights and sounds of an abandoned factory's half-working machines.
Perhorresces is the more accessible collection. Initially released in June on a now-sold-out cassette, the set arrives anew as a 12-inch record from Hot Releases this month. Maier tempers his impulses here, especially on side two, with several brilliant nods to ambient and dub. "Atmadja Duma" is a revelation, with a pernicious low-end hum and disembodied choirs. They float toward the surface like exotic fish through the digital image of an old-school screensaver. The cavernous minimal techno of "Inosculatione" slowly writhes into inscrutable melodic shape. The songs exude mystery and allure from an icy distance.
Together, these two releases serve as vivid documents of Maier's continued sonic exploration, speaking to his ability to create isolated worlds from sound. To that point, less patient listeners might accuse him of being self-indulgent, as most of his tracks surpass the six-minute mark. But LACK's charms are cumulative, and these records require full immersion. These tunes don't always hit individually, but greater context provides clarity and meaning. As you move through these environments, you'll certainly notice the way Maier builds an eerie, uncanny headspace. It's all-consuming and hard to shake even when the records spin to an end, evidence of experiments well made.
Label: Tone Log/Hot Releases