jega has been around for a while, and since its 1998 debut “spectrum” it has been showing up on compilations and generally being perceived as a peer of famous idm artists like aphex twin or autechre. “geometry” is more cinematic album released on renowned matador records.
overall, this album is a marvelous experience, hitting close to experimental edge of autechre, although the best tracks on this cd are a lot closer to conventional idm along the lines of bola or boards of canada.
the best tracks on the album are easily identifiable from the very beginning. “alternating bit” is the one that grabs your attention right away, not only being the first track, but also displaying the best combination of all jega’s strong points – orchestrated, almost classical-sounding instruments, dramatic and very mysterious strings and small unsettling cacophonic touches that are buried within intricate percussion layers. all those elements add a lot to overall atmosphere created by every track.
another favorite is “geometry,” set closer to traditional idm. its grace and emotional presence make it one of the most accessible songs on the album. stuttering percussion layers and collapsing analog beats are a tribute to previous tracks like “recursion” or “syntax tree,” while glowing melancholic strings at the distance add a cold and very romantic touch to the music. “geometry” is more minimal, which seems to fit very nicely with the whole concept of cd. precision, elegance, streamlined nature of its features are combined with a few elements that hint fragility and transparency of the sound structure.
with “inertia” the album is slowing down, entering dreamlike states. once again, the minimalism of the song combined with a great sense of melody is what sets it apart from complexity of broken jukebox tunes of preceding “breakpoint envelope” or “rigid body dynamics.” “inertia” is not as epic and engaging as “geometry” or “alternating” bit, but its charm lies within dreamy light melody and soft percussion. it glimmers in its pale moonlight, occasionally building up to a heavier crescendo, and then slowly drifting away, disappearing among soft analog lines.
closing “subdivision surface” continues melodic idm theme. it has almost atmospheric feel to it. amazingly constructed melody floats between analog lines and deep strings. once again, the combination of organic sounds give this song a classical, very melancholic and timeless feel. sparse percussion gently touches the surface of the song.
other tracks on the album start growing on you after a while as well, but most of them are playgrounds for sound manipulation. this artificial sound creation is fascinating like any craft, but never touches you too much emotionally. all of them do possess a distinct “jega” touch, when even most mechanized passages carry a touch of human emotion, hinted by cold acoustic strings and soft analog sounds.
overall I was very impressed by this album. it is not as “sweet” and “easy listening“ as majority of other idm, when artists seem to get carried away by warm strings and light melodies. “geometry” has a somber, distant feel that comes with elegance and sound range that other artists lack. speaking of the range, this is the most promising feature of jega. if he manages to combine his melodic and percussion elements together, keeping the spirit of “geometry”, the result would be very impressive.