Ital Tek: Hollowed

Ital Tek releases this year's best album to date.

Ital Tek


Label: Planet Mu
US Release Date: 2016-03-18
UK Release Date: 2016-03-18

Ital Tek has made a nearly perfect album, wherein each note and beat contains an intimate history of Alan Myson's decade-long artistic development. From Hollowed's pensive opening track, "A Delicate Balance", to "Vacuum I's" understated pads and lithe rhythms, the latter the equivalent to a person's heart beating at the pace of a panic attack, Myson's compositions descend into the abyss without fearing the endless fall. Darkened textures and mixed samples of hellish discord tie together the theme of vast emptiness. And how that emptiness translates into something acoustic instrumentation often fails to do, Ital Tek creates future beat's version of the Cure's Pornography.

To create the droning textures and vast spaces for them to dwell, Myson isolated himself in a brand new studio and returned to the genesis of his childlike desires to create music. What began with guitars, effects pedals, and minidiscs at 14 years of age was not abandoned entirely, just put on hold. Expressive like Burial's earliest efforts, Ital Tek found freedom from dubstep rhythms. Now, the rhythms adhere to Myson's vision. "Redeemer" rapidly pans thin snare textures while voices swell and repeatedly shrink, drowned in reverb. The track, more importantly, the vocals themselves, never arrive anywhere.

Embracing both EDM and industrial music's finest tools, "Cobra" strikes at the core of future beat's newest occupant of the throne. Less an ode to industrial music than evolving its stereotyped identities, the beat borrows from EDM's basic structures -- drums and percussive features, scurrilous synth lines, drops, vocals samples; Ital Tek, on the other hand, breaks free from dubstep's predictable formula, lowering itself into space and betraying the martial rhythm patterns for infinite space and time.

"Memory Shard" resonates the continued theme of despair. Gated vocal samples cut through syncopated rhythms with a dull, rusted blade. On the slab is memory's cadaverous corpse -- a painful reminder that what traumatizes us makes or breaks us in the end. Beauty restlessly emerges from the pain. "Aquamarine" thrusts itself to the bottom of the ocean. Frenetic hi-hats expose the difficulty of dismissing what it means to be human, even in dubstep's shallow contexts. Hinting at his transformation since releasing Nebula Dance, uptempo bangers, like "Pixel Haze", demonstrated the panoramic expansiveness despite being constrained by its two-step structure. The space between rhythm and sound becomes undone toward "Pixel Haze's" end: a brief glimpse into the artist's wish to do more with even less.

These days, Ital Tek appears more like an outlier on Planet Mu's roster. By the same contention, Venetian Snares and Burial also appear more like misfits on a heavily populated island of other misfits. The underlying difference here is Ital Tek's most individualized moment. What Myson shares with the artists above is invention through progression. Hollowed demonstrates the humanity of electronic music, particularly in a time when critics of EDM and dubstep have declared both genres dead. The term "terminus" possesses a dispassionate connotation: an extreme end. For Mayson, what ends with Hollowed is the journey to discover the shadows within himself. Likewise, the track "Terminus" gracefully embraces that very darkness. No other album made by the countless electronic composers delves this deeply into places people fear to face.





90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.


Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.