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  • Filed under: Review
  • 09/04/2013

Hieroglyphic Being A Plutonian Love Affair EP

Even in an industry of genre hardliners, futurists, and eccentrics, Hieroglyphic Being's cosmic individuality stands out. Since founding his own Mathematics label in 1996, Chicago-based producer Jamal Moss has produced records for Spectral Sound, Soul Jazz, Morphine, and countless others, putting together a daunting discography of psychedelic degradation. Depending on one's level of patience and appetite for distortion, such a back catalog is either treasure trove or trash heap, but there's no contesting that Moss has carved out a considerable niche. For his latest EP on Modelhart, a nascent Norwegian label, Hieroglyphic Being digs into old material while creating two instantly recognizable tracks that may be of questionable fidelity, but are also willfully meandering and completely transportive.

The original "Plutonian Love Affair" was scuffed with static, treading water while synth curlicues peeked out from the surf. The remix here by 9th Planet (ostensibly Moss under a different alias) stretches the length from nine minutes to a shade over 14, retaining the dirty aesthetic and hiccups that Moss has defended in the past as reflecting the imperfection and muddiness of life itself. There are bursts of cymbal sibilance and a surprisingly crisp synth line that recalls Jahiliyya Fields' synthtopias on L.I.E.S. It's a circuitous journey, marked by stops and starts of a fillipping organ, yet even though it covers significant ground across its length, the remix feels oddly static and thematically repetitive.

Hieroglyphic Being's club influences shine through more obviously on "Tache Floue De L'amour De Folie Interminable," which, according to Google Translate, means "fuzzy task of love from endless madness" and comes across like Underground Resistance doused with insecticide. It's static-laden techno, with the bitter influence of Moss' Morphine labelmate Container. A romantic organ line waltzes in and does its best to withstand the unquantized fuzz of multiple percussion patterns that have been stacked with varying degrees of legibility; the track's rhythms come together briefly, but are seemingly intent on falling apart. Goopy pads rise as the beat coalesces around a crunchy hi-hat, but it ultimately feels like a DJ intentionally mixing two records out of sync. Still, the confusion is attractive, eventually building to an ethereal peak, even though Moss takes the scenic route to get there.

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