Calabi Yau Space

Fallen into any black holes lately? Kone-R puts down his quantum mechanics book and checks out Gerald Donald's latest work.

By Kone-R

Intrigued by the title of this new album from the elusive Gerald Donald, a quick look at Wikipedia turns up loads of barely understandable stuff about physics, geometry and pure maths — something to do with the "extra dimensions of spacetime". I can't pretend to grasp superstring theory, but I can draw a simple parallel with Quantum Transposition (the album Donald previously released on Rephlex under the Arpanet name). Obviously this is a man with science on his mind (he even includes the web address for CERN, the world’s largest particle physics lab, on the sleeve), and this couldn't be more apparent from the abstract, technical sounds on show here. It differs enormously from Gesamtkunstwerk, the classic Dopplereffekt debut of Germanic electro that drew many comparisons with the godfathers of that very genre; Kraftwerk. Almost entirely without beats, Calabi Yau Space is sheer experimentalism, but with a fragile beauty quite unlike anything I’ve heard recently.

After a short intro, we are drawn into the intense movements of Hyperelliptic Surfaces, which seems to be made of several distinct sections, ranging from epic string-laden arpeggios to digital distortion before ending with what would be a perfect alternative soundtrack to Day of the Triffids. Compactification is a fantastic little ambient piece, over too soon, and before you can remember where you were, the foreboding angularities of Mirror Symmetry remind you that this is a journey into the unknown, the final frontier of techno music.

Non Vanishing Harmonic Spinor contains epic choral voices over yet more dark and mysterious synth action, and by this stage you’ve realised that actually this all works so much better without the beats… so it then comes as a total surprise when a solitary snare begins snapping away. Hypersurface moves from skittering percussion to a stunning chopped up section of frankly evil intent, before the album closes with Dimension II — a very apt title, it sounds like what I imagine it might be like to fall into a black hole. I can almost see the phrase “E=mc2” floating past.

This is yet more quality electronic gear from Rephlex, a label that has consistently offered up some of the best around for over 15 years and shows no sign of letting up. A truly forward-thinking, boundary-pushing album — just don’t try to study quantum mechanics whilst listening for the first time.
anthony shakir posted 4 September 2007 (22:09:00)
i lost my calculator some time ago. like dancing about architecture makes no sense, dance tracks with no drums make no sense to me either. i was never a physicist, but i did learn how to count change. please bring the beat back. shake shakir
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