Aleph Conjures Lo-Fi Bass Music on Vol. 1

Without having the thrill of listening to ALEPH before, one would be excused for overlooking his overtly unassuming new EP, Vol. 1, released through the wonderful Renraku Global Media. One would be robbed of a visceral pleasure. Take a pinch of time today to digest this one, which has all the space-age, low-end blitzkrieg sound loved so universally, revisioned in a spectrum and soundscape that is often reserved for the more hip-hop oriented genres of electronic music and production.

With so many chasing the cleanest, most manicured dirty sound, a fundamentally lo-fi bass music is difficult to conceptualize. ALEPH presents this music - dirty distorted sharp bass beats coated in lo-fi texture - with startling originality on Vol. 1. After a few tunes one begins to hear how Vol. 1, titled with such inaugural flourish, could indeed be a start for something great. Burnished basslines, asymmetrical sound synthesis, and dusted percussion dominate the EP, but not without a touch of hair-splitting nuance in musicality.

Dive deep into the record and one will bring back to the surface a special sort of tango between brutal neck-breakers, swampy face-melters, and a dash of downtempo fluidity. Two tracks serve as avatars of this one-off stylization of what are otherwise a set of straightforward but disparate genres; “Solomon”, and “Scintillations”. “Solomon” unleashes a firestorm of gritty sub lines, flared up with carefully placed punches in the higher octaves to bring that veritable “glitch”, satisfying the listeners’ want for a-rhythmic, laser beam syntax. “Scintillations” thrives in it’s own wake as the counterpoint to the entire EP. It’s the most melodious effort on the collection, eschewing crunchy subs and freaky mid-range synthesis for a more scaled-down approach. The careful drum programming, coupled with distinctly distorted pad melodies, screams to be rendered in the highest fidelity possible, but that would be the antithesis of this track, and of what appears as the entire ethos of the EP.

It is specifically the dust and dirt that so many would rather wash away that add full flavor and flow to Vol. 1, summoning images of rainy, city alleyways littered with half-glittering tin tchotchkes clattering together in a breeze. Certainly the release demands multiple run-throughs to hone in on the eclectic sound design choices. Fortunately, you can take as much time as you need - until Volume 2, of course.

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