It isn’t all just sweeping synth tides on Mokira’s Persona — the still waters navigated on the opening track aren’t entirely representative of the rest of the album, although such a framework wouldn’t necessarily damage the versatile Swedish musician’s second full-length for Type. Persona is undoubtedly of the dense ambient ilk, its lanky-billowing loops and muddied swirls are reminiscent of the artful Grouper effort that Type rolled out in 2008. Unlike the sonic stew that I usually lose myself in when it comes to favorite droning/ambient productions, however, Mokira’s Persona is more layered and infinitely unpredictable, with clacks, colorful flourishes, and analog echo boxes peppering the impressive stretches at hand.
As Mokira — what appears to be Andreas Tilliander’s most active alias — the artist released Cliphop in 2000, which many recognize as the founding document of the admired “glitch” strain of hip hop. Indeed, there are several celebrated monikers at work in Tilliander’s studio.
When Tilliander is moonlighting as Mokira, he isn’t making the dub techno records that he’s issued as Rechord or Lowfour, but traces of the genre are certainly detectable on Persona‘s “Valla Torg Kraut,” in the track’s gloopy bass line and the hollowed-out, aquatic segue that links to “Oscillations and Tremolo.” The former piece’s relationship to “Oscillations…” abruptly halts there, as the highly compressed pattern of, obviously, tremelo-treated synths, that follows is nothing like anything else on Persona. The rigid distortion references instead the messy end of a ’67 era Yardbirds set, or better, the efforts of a vintage electronic music pioneer, who’s ambled into new territory by moving this knob there and that knob right…about…here. It spirals and sputters, and not surprisingly, couldn’t have landed farther from the heavily decimated tape loops that give carnie folk romp “Ode to the Ode to the Street Hassle” all of its charm, aside from the title, of course. This is a truly compelling and diverse collection of sound, with each experiment sounding a galaxy away from the next.