Review: Left.Bank – Zentrum Statisch (KOI8-R, Jun 23)

Many things about Zentrum Statisch led me to believe it would be a work produced using pure data processing: the flat, minimal cover design, the seemingly random sequences of letters and numbers found throughout the album page, the bizarre URL for Left.Bank’s website (lllbnk.x-xx—… But the unnamed artist’s “free-form computer-based improvisations” are not at all entirely detached from reality. Spastic, unpredictable, and kinetic, the four tracks do harness many a mangled glitch cluster or grating, error message-esque blast, yet organics play a significant role as well. “reqnee,” despite its disorienting, artificial first moments, soon introduces what sounds like a processed field recording of cricket-filled night air, squashed between the much less familiar curls of pulsating electronics. As the album progresses, it becomes even more difficult to distinguish between sound sources, and Left.Bank’s sonic repertoire approaches that fascinating dimension where heavily manipulated sounds begin to mimic the very reality from which the original material was yanked. Restless digital tendrils evoke watery slaps and squashes, buzzing electrical dins muffle distorted animal-like roars… it all just makes this wonderful album that much more immersive.