Phil Julian: Clastics


Conditional Recs cassette and download

A companion piece to the excellent Relay, Clastics abandons controlled sheen in favour of guttural argy-bargy. The focus on patterns that gradually fall apart is still present, although the tracks are shorter – only occasionally reaching the three-minute mark – and punchier, Julian wrenching an admirable variety of scarred misbehavior from his combined modular-computer setup (PG, SC, Max/MSP, Serge, Hordijk, Nord, Yamaha, since you asked). If you’ve heard Blippo, his EP of chaos-theory inspired variations using only the esoteric Blippo Box, you’ll be familiar with Julian’s approach here: set the parameters, let the machines do their stuff then get the heck out. The dedication to brevity is welcome in these days of information overload, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of detail or interest. The tripey burps of AB are an early bit of fun, their lopsided scrape gradually overloading into juddering frenzy, while CB’s glassy rattle recalls good old Cheapmachines indiscipline. It might just be me, but it seems to get tougher and surlier as it goes on, with the dragon snores of EC far more threatening than their subdued treatment might initially appear. The epic fizzle of AE comes as a bit of a surprise after all this bolshiness, its mood deadpan rather than aggressive and its bacterial structure evading all attempts at speedy assimilation. Pointilist white noise crackle are beds for streams of frictive phasing, tripping out into googly-eyed heaves halfway through, before everyone gets down to an intense sandpaper workout at the close. A nice bit of rough, all told.



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