“The result is a kind of limbo, a strange liminal record that rejects the initial feeling of having been here before.”
NYC-based Randy Riback’s newest release on ArteTetra initially appears to say little about the metropolis he calls home, seeming to more obviously evoke jungle moods and landscapes. But rest assured, Java Scripts is not one of the generic EPs usually seen described as Field Recordings from *insert forest name*, Vol. VII by labels that think combining wilderness primitivity with electronic music represents unchartered artistic territory.
Java Scripts defies these tired definitions ultimately by not taking itself too seriously. Crafted from forgotten samplers found on a weekend away in upstate NY, the EP’s tongue-in-cheek title implies that computer language and the World Wide Web are important influences alongside the tropical rhythms that form the music’s backbone.
The opening to ‘Seagull’s Dance’ is a perfect example of how the release blurs the lines between both what is real and imagined, and physical and digital worlds. It is hard to know whether the melody is supposed to sound like some kind of authentic jungle instrument or rather a chopped and changed soundbite from the inner bleep of a 1990s computer.
The result is a kind of limbo, a strange liminal record that rejects the initial feeling of having been here before. Tracks are by no means rushed but there is certainly an improvised feel to things. It is not difficult to envisage Riback simply allowing the spine of each track to continually replay on a drum machine whilst experimenting over the top with an array of synths, pipes and flutes.
If the original music deals in spontaneity, then the B-Side trades this for a controlled touch – the four remixes are more explicitly club-ready tracks and Piezo’s interpretation of ‘Lyon’s Roast’ in particular stands out from the rest of the pack. The remix may split opinion as to whether the original’s floaty keys work with his broken and glitchy reimagining but there is no doubt the Italian producer continues to intrigue following the release of his debut LP Perdu last month.