Upland: Obliterated

Jester, 2004

Obliterated cover

Obliterated starts off with mind-bending pulses of bass and enough scattered clicks and beats to exhilarate most IDMers. Upland (Knut Andreas Ruud) ups the complexity on this follow-up to his self-titled debut. “The Last Sahini” sounds like an Aphex Twin tribute with noisy drill and bass and diced samples. “Fly vs. Spider” is almost clinical in its computational complexity, with plenty of machine noises and just a hint of human melody. “Field Interface” and “Chi” are my favorite tracks, sounding a bit like Chiastic-era Autechre with crunchy beats and dark but beautiful melodies. While it’s no coincidence that Ruud wrote the alt.music.autechre FAQ a few years ago, his music is more than the sum of its influences. This album stays consistently good, with genuinely enjoyable tracks. Upland proves that even the most complicated, artificial sounds can have heart.