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Mark Fell

Multistability

(Raster-Noton; US: 7 Dec 2010; UK: 22 Nov 2010)

Man, SND is on a roll. Six years of nothing, then a torrential blizzard of supreme microsound and stunning beat science on 4,5,6 in 2008 and the full-length bruiser Atavism in 2009. While the Mat Steel half of SND usually stays quiet outside of official releases, the Mark Fell half keeps eternally busy with lots of recorded output under his own name. Fell released two full-length solo records in late 2010. Multistability is the first one, and it keeps the sonic palette much the same as SND’s latest music: clipped bursts of funk synthesizer, warped, tactile rhythms (beanbags, bouncing rubber balls, handclaps) and airless space. Relative to Atavism, the gaps between this album’s beats are more oddly timed, the melodies more askew and not quite as sticky. Grabbing onto a consistent groove is challenging even while paying attention, mainly due to the clash between Fell’s irregular constructions and the diamond-cut precision of the sounds within them. Multistability is an easy record to admire but a hard one to love, appealing mostly to the SND fanatic who thought that Atavism was too listenable.

Rating:

Mike has been a staff writer at PopMatters since 2009. He began writing music reviews for his college paper in 2005, where he cut his teeth as an arts editor and weekly columnist. He graduated from Vassar in 2008 and is pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. He is currently writing his dissertation on the role of rejection sensitivity in online infidelity, and lives with his incredible girlfriend in a wonderful shoebox apartment in Washington, DC.


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