Kangding Ray - Stabil
It doesn't feel right listening to Kangding Ray's Stabil here -- a white-walled art gallery or a floatation tank would, perhaps, be more appropriate. Like the majority of the raster-noton catalogue, it's an exemplar of pristine digital clarity, however, in contrast to the almost mechanically structured hearing tests of labelmate Ryoji Ikeda's popular Dataplex, Stabil retains a warmth and depth of emotion which is distinctly human.
This release sits comfortably between 'active' electronic/dance music and full-on ambience, often making use of powerful bass and crisp electro-clicks set in relaxingly loose patterns of repetition, opening track 'nn/peaks' being a prime example. More relaxed and melodic is the excellent 'interrompu court', one of the finest pieces of electronic music I've heard for a very long time.
As Stabil winds on, it moves into distinctly more ambient territory. Upon first listen I was slightly disappointed, hoping that the the melodies which floated through the first few tracks would continue, but, in retrospect, the more languid ending provides some welcome variety and fades the album seamlessly back out through the hole that opener 'nn/peaks' punches in the consciousness.
Stabil is a fantastic blend of intelligence and emotion, neither excessive in its activity nor tiresome in its sparsity. It slides beautifully through the mind and demands a second listening.
Buy Stabil from raster-noton.