Mark Fell: “INTRA-3″ (INTRA, Boomkat Editions)
After serving time in snd and being part of a new wave of experimental innovators in electronic music, Mark Fell has had an active solo career that’s seen him chasing impulse and inspiration through often erratic, rhythmic excursions. INTRA is both a diversion and a compounding of those pursuits, immediately distinctly different by virtue of collaborating with Grupo de Percussão. Fell sends instructions to the drummers via triggers relayed through headphones, giving the music Fell’s usual brand of unpredictable cadence and anti-flow. However, the acoustic effects of the metallophones lends a gamelan-like timbre to the proceedings, removing it from the insularity of a laptop and placing it squarely in the real world. It’s an engaging and cool concept, but in practice I have to say it may not be my favorite of Fell’s releases. Its clattering racket on about a third of the tracks is something I can appreciate in theory but don’t particularly enjoy sitting through. But a more hushed exploration like this one is sublime, and the contrast of those louder moments with these gives INTRA a surprising allure for me, where my ears and my brain can’t quite agree.