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Caipirinha is on one of those big-time rolls that occasionally strike indie labels—like Creation in the early ‘90s or spinART in the last couple years—virtually every record a winner with the label firmly establishing its “sound.” As if releasing DJ Spooky’s best album ever (File Under Futurism) and the brilliant sounds of German post-techno on Microscopic Sounds weren’t enough, now they give us Atau.

Tokyo-based Atau Tanaka has crossed the globe for years, forming Sensorband in Europe and gaining fame in San Francisco as well-known performer of the BioMuse, a biosensor musical instrument. Hey, the guy’s even studied at Harvard (where he met John Cage) and opened for Krautrock gods Can, for cryin’ out loud. On Biorhythms, he uses every last shred of that eclectic, international background to concoct a wildly diverse, intellectually-challenging, and aesthetically pleasing electronic masterpiece.

Atau surges through pure tone synthesis (currently the rage in German post-techno), noise, and groovy beats. The best of the best is “Delull,” where the downtempo opening is supported by a droning heartbeat sound and then completely subverted and overtaken by a slow-building groove that becomes utterly fierce and a swirl of sounds and beats so rich, it verges on free jazz. Naysayers label electronic music repetitive, inhuman, and frequently boring. Changing mood on every track and endlessly re-inventing genre formulas, Biorhythms proves how wrong those fuddy-duds are.


Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.

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