Monday, 26 March 2012
Review: Petar Dundov - Ideas From The Pond
It's official - I'm now so trendy I'm reviewing albums that aren't even released yet. Petar Dundov's terribly titled album Ideas From The Pond (I sure hope that sounds more poetic in Croatian) is available to stream at the moment on Resident Advisor. No, I won't link to Resident Advisor. They're like my arch-enemies. Go search yourself, it's not hard. Or just buy the album, if you're reading this review in one of the infinite number of points of time that aren't the week I wrote it. It's good enough to buy blind, trust me. Go on. Trust me. No? Okay, I'll explain a bit more, while you begin illegally torrenting it.
Petar Dundov is a Croation melodic techno artist who has apparently been a major figure in the Croatian dance music scene since the country came into existence in 1994. The verdict on this album is basically "trance for people who don't like trance", which is generally a good description. I think most people in the dance scene actually like the idea of trance, as in the idealised conception of melodic, ultra-repetitive electronic space music. There have been plenty of pseudo-trance recreations in the past decade or so, most notably the whole "neo trance" thing, and now the increased tendency for arp-y melodic Detroit techno stuff coming out of labels like Tresor. The dance music community, even the bearded, scarfed, immacuately-tasteful part of it, wants trance back. They still play Sasha's Xpander occasionally and sigh deeply. They want to be tranced. What puts them off is the polluted, desecrated corpse of a genre that is the real trance scene, 90% horrific Euro-cheddar excess and emotionally stunted, E-blunted druggies and teenagers. It turns out the Dundov actually used to produce trance back in the early '90s when it was actually trance-inducing, and he knows how to use the sharp end of an arpeggio or two. Clearly he is a man to take the hipsters to outer space.
Ideas From The Pond is a techno record, not a trance one, but like a lot of melodic techno it's clearly been influenced by trance. Dundov's music is generally extremely melodic and spaced out, but on this album he takes it to another level. All of these tracks go on for fucking years, and the incremental development of musical ideas is as hypnotic as it gets. This is perhaps the ultimate example of everything potentially limiting about dance music production - fixed tempo, constant beat, loop-dominated composition, extreme repetition - being stretched and pushed into something genuinely and compellingly deep and interesting.
This isn't the album for you if you like your music to be rapid and ever-changing and poppy. Then again, this probably isn't the blog for you, full stop. I can understand that some people might see this as strictly background music, or a particularly complex strain of ambient. I certainly couldn't imagine myself dancing to it, or playing it at a house party. But then, I never get to put my music on at parties. People don't want to hear weird trippy electronic shit at house parties, for some baffling reason. But if, like me, you like music where you can put it on loud on the headphones and just lay back and space the fuck out, then you should get on this album. It might just go down as one of the finest albums of 2012. I still think the title is shit, though.
Genre: Melodic techno.
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 9/10