Ricardo Donoso – ‘Progress Chance’ [Review]

Coming rather literally out of Leftfield, Ricardo Donoso unveils a startling new mode with ‘Progress Chance’.  Much like the recent coups of style exhibited in Giffoni’s take on House and Lopatin’s move toward Freestyle (and bearing much resemblance to the Techno-philia of the recent William Bowers disc), Donoso has foregone the figurative distortion for a swelling ground of retrospective techno and downbeat electronica, modified with a craftsman’s ear to make energetic “morning dance music”.  “Dance music” is a placeholder here, as the rhythmic deconstruction of these tracks permits at best a swaying-in-place, and serve better as a vibrant rice paper through which one might partition the world in the delicate states of morning (be they rising or collapsing).  Each track is marked by a distinct, binaural channel-skipping which can be tough on the stomach when heard through headphones, but which create an effervescent and terrifically light-weight emanation when passed through the background of a room.  Tracks like two and four, “Klatu” and “The Deck of an Ancient Ship”, have a respiratory quality to them, at once therapeutic and precarious, the former even layered over a thin radio chatter to simulate the thin line between waking life and induced evaporation.  Röyksopp and Alp come to mind for the living room feel and personal effacement of the music – not nihilism, but something verging on regret always lingering heavily as an aftertaste.  On the B-side a different program, where optimism is extinguished and sensible connections are made to recent forms of synthesizer ambients, linking “Morning Criminal” and “The North Quadrant” to Oneohtrix Point Never and Gatekeeper in thematic tint and attentive anxiety.  There is a stalking exhilaration which threads through the entire album, taking on merely different shades between sides, and which makes this already quite-compact disc flutter by so much quicker.

Digitalis LP

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