Somnambule - Writing About Music

Transistor ~ Relief

‘Relief’ blows in on a warm gulf breeze like a balmy benediction. The laidback atmosphere is soon ratcheted onto a tech-house beat, all copy and paste cropping and insistent meter. Surprise guest is a similarly hedged saxophone, matched and moulded to the décor. That breeze breathes gently in and slowly out: if it weren’t for the determined beat, it might serve as welcome accompaniment to meditation. ‘Lub’ deletes the saxophone as surplus to requirement and substitutes scratch for breeze. It sounds very much like its predecessor, but given the contemplative nature of the music, this is no bad thing. 15 minutes in and it feels like one’s been here for ever. ‘Omni’ sounds at the outset as if it might be about to take a left turn, but soon returns to the one, true path. The rhythm’s chug is a touch funkier, its syncopated figures sound like they’re tripping over one another in measured haste. ‘Smoke’ looms a little heavier on the horizon, ‘Glow’ is an Escher-like circular falling of scree that never hits virtual bottom. It reminds this listener of something, but his memory refuses to disclose its secret, perhaps it’s Jan Jelinek, but not quite, perhaps Higher Intelligence Agency around the time of Freefloater, but no that’s not it either. ‘Relief’ is a delicious dessert that betrays none of its composer’s Mexican background. Rather, it’s clearly a product of a global, digital culture: sanitised but wary, painstakingly assembled, but rendered apparently simply.

Colin Buttimer
October 2005
Published by Milkfactory