Planet Mu ZIQ059
The evolution of modern electronic pop music has lead to a plethora of genres and sub genres. Some of these terms can be useful, and many even define entire cultures. Or they can simply over-define and marginalize artists into the nether regions, analogous to the hairsplitting between dark/black/death metal. Or: one can take the easy out and lump all not-so-danceable electro as IDM. I can barely hold back the guffaw: "Intelligent Dance Music". Whatever. This moniker seems to have been a handy way of defining the Warp massive: Aphex, Autechre, Squarepusher, but now includes the tech/glitch/dub the 'Scape set, Swiss micro-house, and even the more 'organic' laptop stylings of Fourtet, Boards of Canada and, the subject of this particular essay, Nautilis.
Nautilis is one Tyler McGlothlin, a precocious sample/laptop/synth-smith from Texas, and Sketches rounds up his two similarly named eps and throws in some singles and a remix for good measure. And like the aforementioned Kieran Hebden, combines heavily manipulated sampled beats, in this case similar to early Aphex Twin or the more techno outings of Matthew Herbert (think Wishmountain) with more atmospheric or retro sounding synths layered over the top. When McGlothlin plays live, old analog synths and Rhodes are sampled in real time and manipulated, or are in fact played live. The result, especially on a track like "Epatre"or "Dyslexic", is a slightly warmer version of tech, which has all of the 'sound' but none of the 'jazz-funk' of Sextant-era Herbie Hancock, and with completely modern glitch beats. The mix is livened with true break beat cuts like "777" and "888" (hmm, I get it), or trip-hop a la BoC on "Ruffion.rmx", keeping Sketches from becoming too formulaic or genre-defined.. A subtle and pleasant surprise, then, for those who like their IDM (or organic glitch-hop techno-whatever) on the chilled side.