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A Revolution in Breakbeats: Rotwang's 'Crisis'

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Thursday, May 12, 2011
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Rotwang

Test Card 1: Crisis

(The Analogue Quadrant; US: Import; UK: 14 Mar 2011)

Princeton’s Rotwang is back, following his full-length debut Awful with an only-ten-minutes-shorter EP called Crisis.  It stays the course of its predecessor’s dystopian ambiance, although despite the panicked title, this is actually the more tuneful of the two.  The melodies are just as angular, but bolder, especially on opener “Vertigo”, which might just barely qualify as pop if not for an insistently ear-piercing mid-section synth seizure.
  
Also, like Awful, the compositions are often endearingly noodly—in the vein of Rephlex’s Bogdan Raczynski—nearly giving the impression that they’re not composed at all, but rather impatient improvisations.  Which would be appropriate: no Alan Woods sound bites this time around, but as the Ayn Rand inversion “You the Dying” suggests, Crisis doesn’t illustrate despair so much as react against it, that somebody is to blame for the barbell shape our economy is taking, and that they will pay.



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New Jersey's Rotwang takes a populist approach to ambient textures and spastic 8-bit melodies on a lean, breezy album that nonetheless brims with ideas.
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