Carlos’ first new release in 6 years, Vain was drawn from hundreds of hours of improvisations made at his Malibu studio, offering a tumultuous narrative in affective abstract swells and pulsating rhythms that trigger curious sensations and emotions ever familiar to his variegated, extreme, yet essentially organic output.
Despite not releasing anything for the past 6 years, Carlos still sounds like he lives and breathes electronic music. Where those ‘noise’ artists who originally played at No Fun Fest and released on his label have arguably carved out major career paths from myriad mutated genres, Carlos’ music still feels captivatingly ancient yet advanced and uncannily hypnotic.
In a cascade of minimalist arps and cloud dynamic harmonies, the album’s story starts in the vortex of Vain’s Face and sweeps thru the granular flux of The Desert to a staggering piece of noise techno dissonance in Erase The World, which calves away into the curled plunge of Hands and the anxious needling of We Pay The Price. At the mid-way point it turns lusher with the pulsing and coruscating kosmische tang of Stop Breathing, leading to the metric complexities woven into Faith and Pain and the heightened high-register sensitivities of I Can Change, whose shatterproof hyaline steeples ultimately deliquesce into the shimmering beauty of Sun Rain.
With hazy resolution and ambiguity of effect, the record works its magick in memorable style. Like the best abstract sonics of Peter Rehberg or Keith Fullerton Whitman, an intuitively applied formula of geometry, rhythm, tone and timbre add up to inexorable effect, rendering the closest possible connection between the machines and the artist’s pathos.
For syntesthetes and attuned listeners, the effect is likely to conceive new colours on the mind’s eye, and move them to finer states of emotive response. In others words: it’s a seriously good listen.