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  • Filed under: Review
  • 08/30/2013

Mark Fell N-Dimensional Analysis

Mark Fell is a busy man. Apart from his work as one half of long-running duo SND, he's the guiding force behind Sensate Focus, a sometimes collaborative "house" project, and on occasion, he also operates under his own name. N-Dimensional Analysis is the latest product of what's been a flurry of activity for Fell, but because the veteran producer always uses a simple selection of elements, which rarely change from record to record, his signature is instantly recognizable. There is little more here than a selection of kicks, hi-hats, and claps, along with a perky, pervasive synthesizer that squirts out from each beat. Owing to this economy and his dexterity at slicing up a track, Fell has often been called clinical, the implication being that his is music for the mind, rather than the body. On the contrary, there is a high degree of spontaneity here, but the shifts happen so frequently that they blur together and are likely missed by the casual listener. Granted, this seems natural when one considers that the music is coming from a producer who has previously worked to coax audio from actual microscopic particles.

While sold as just two 11-minute sides, N-Dimensional Analysis is actually a series of smaller pieces spliced together. However, one would have to be really engaged to tell where one ends and another begins; Fell's palette is that stark, and the frequent changes are that minute. Throughout it all, his piston-like drums fracture the watery synthlines, making them jut and bounce like mercury beads. The empty space in the a-side's stop-start beginning is eventually filled by these remnants as the beat subtly changes direction. Fell has never really been a bassline guy, but early on the b-side he pairs two lines in different octaves, lending the section a bit of lower-end heft. It's locked in with a prominently rattling hi-hat for a few minutes before the arrangement switches off again. There is a wealth of needly detail in Fell's pieces, but at no point do these mutations jar the pristine, kinetic whole.

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