Electronic music is a broad genre. It ranges from the most minimal soundscapes to the most chaotic musical harshness. Finding a logical path between those two extremes can be a fun journey. I once compiled a list of 100 tracks starting from trip-hop and ending in a true noizefest. But there are more creative ways to compile this journey.
xE Phalanx is not so much a band as it is a project, where x stands for the number of contributing artists. For this album, 7 artists combined their skills to create one track, taking the listener through the world of icy electronica. The 14-minute track was released on Entity, one of Belgium's most classy electronic music labels.
The track itself consists of 10 consecutive parts, starting off quite subdued with a crunchy glitch part. Rather minimal in rhythm and melody, it borders on soundscapes intervened by glitchy salvos. As the rhythm becomes more concrete and claims its presence, the track shifts gradually to a more IDM-like atmosphere and more classical melodies enter the track.
For those not really used to the more experimental side of electronic music, even the slow start might come as quite a shock. There is little in the way of normal melody, rhythm and sound. The atmosphere is ice cold, mechanical and clinical. Not something you might catch on the radio.
Around the 5 minute mark, a first real shift is noticeable, building further on IDM-like melodies and increasing the complexity of the rhythms. The track becomes more dense, without losing its sound and atmosphere. Darker elements enter and the track turns onto a more experimental path. Abstract rhythms come to the foreground and ambient waves complement the sound in the background. The music turns quite full and spacey while remaining true to its barren sound.
Just before the 10 minute mark the track increases the pace. The ambient waves become louder, rhythms more chaotic and the overall tone a lot harder. From here on, chaos kicks in and won't let down until a blasting finale. Both founders of Entity team up with Xanopticon to produce an insane ending to the track.
For people interested in the abstract side of experimental electronic music, Pulse is the perfect voyage to get a glimpse of what this kind of music has to offer. Mind that it's not really suited for electronica virgins, but it's definitely unique and top quality stuff. And it remains one of my all time favorite tracks.
The album can be downloaded for free from the Entity website.