Stroboscopic Artefacts has, with now eighteen instalments, relentlessly shifted the goalposts of contemporary electronic music to bold and unfamiliar territory. With contributions from the likes of Lakker, Rrose and Plaster – those are just from last year - the series has become somewhat emblematic of the progressive ethos of the label, developing, at least in my mind, a well-earned legendary status. Borrowing the term ‘Monad’ from abstract metaphysics should give some clue as to the mystifying style of the music. With each new instalment, fresh textures and ideas seem to appear, expanding the label’s sonic shores. Without overdoing it (too late?) the Monad Series has been a constant source of inspiration, and releasing exclusively in digital format has enabled the label to produce a vast quantity of these experimental releases in a short amount of time. The most recent of these comes from Sendai - collaborative project of Yves de Mey and Peter Van Hossen – and explores form limitlessly with a playful morphing of novel ideas.
The EP kick-starts with a cluster of uncanny components: swamp-ridden bass, harmonic percussion, stifled kicks and growling strings. Sendai open their sonic toy box with wide-eyed, child-like wonder as each new element is brought to the fore; twisting, contorting, decontextualising and denaturalising each building block and clashing them against one another. A personal highlight, ‘False Entities’, hits the ear hard with bizarre glassy timbres and erratic rhythmic shifts. The meticulous attention to detail that Sendai proffer is endlessly engaging, with each motif made up of it’s own character and occupying a special place in the mix.
The second half of the EP is situated within a more recognizable style; ‘Directive’ opens with vast 90’s-style pads, akin to the likes of Global Communication or LFO, before evolving into a heady and hypnotic kick pattern that sounds like a giant rubber band suspended overhead. By contrast, ‘Marten’s Deficit’ is the most dancefloor-ready of the bunch, unapologetically pounding each Exium-esque kick through the tight, vacuum-packed mix without a cigarette paper’s width between them.
You may be surprised to hear that this is the first EP the duo have released in 5 years, given how prolific each respective member has been with their own projects. Nevertheless, with this EP and their latest LP, ‘A Smaller Divide’ both being released within three months of each other, this may be a sign that their best work is still ahead of us.