West Coast experimental techno from Mr Seth Horvitz (aka Sutekh).
Olli Siebelt 2002
Working diligently over the past five years out of his Bay Area apartment, Seth Horvitz (aka Sutekh), has quickly become one of the key scene leaders in the world of American experimental tech-house.
He's managed to incorporate pretty much everything under the sun within his records; found sounds, DSP patches, guitar samples, ping-pong balls, even mic'd up Scrabble pieces show up; maybe his middle name shouldnt be Joshua but rather "Mr. Evil Creative Mad Scientist type of person".
This latest offering is what is commonly known as a "live mix" album. However, Horvitz being Horvitz, this isn't just some lousy back room club field recording of pre-programmed laptop beats with a few bits of crowd noise mixed in. This concept album was pieced together between "several real-time studio sessions" as he traveled back and forth between Barcelona and San Francisco. Rather than simply commit everything to hard disk and return to re-edit, save and repeat, Horvitz set up his row of synths and powerbooks and simply let rip. The results, as you might imagine, are pretty fantastic.
Acting very much as a mix DJ would when playing a blistering set in front of several thousand people (Horvitz, sadly performed with only his presumably bemused cat in attendance), he flips back and forth between texture after texure, building loops of sonic detritus up and then crashing them down without skipping a beat. And what beats. Powerful 4/4 kicks accentuate deeply funky basslines that will have your head nodding in no time.
Modalities change, tones and key signatures are flung around with reckless abandon, but the beats remain pinsharp and precise throughout...you might even recognize one of his old 12"s buried deep in there. However, while the rhythm textures here are impressive enough, the most interesting elements are lying underneath the surface. Mixing several elements live, one on top of another, Horvitz creates an electric soup that constantly changes shape, colour and depth, yet never gets so frothy that it spills out of the bowl.
For all of you four on the floor technonauts out there, may we humbly suggest that Incest becomes a training manual - how it should be done. After getting down and dirty with this, you'll never believe how boringly repetitive most 4/4 techno records really are.
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