subtractiveLAD: Suture

n5MD, 2006

Suture cover

SubtractiveLAD (née Stephen Hummel) is a Vancouver-based musician with a background in jazz. He now creates his own computer instruments. Suture, his second album (to be released on Valentine’s Day), begins with a wash of palette-cleansing noise on “Petals.” But “Brokadocious” is where it starts to get funky. Intricately programmed drums and synths stutter their way through a frenzied jam session.

“Safety in Numbers” starts minimal with minor-key bass. A bleepy melody and heavy percussion build volume, but never really develop. “Twinge” is better, with an old-school IDM feel. Synths meander over hard, complex beats. “Lepidoptera” begins quiet and squelchy before glitchy percussion engages. Clicks and rolling bass set the stage for “Rerum Natura.” I picture a slow helicopter flight over water.

Most of these tracks employ a similar structure, with instruments slowly appearing. The album as a whole builds to a noisy climax, then ends with subdued ambience. There are some really beautiful sounds here. Each idea is fully explored. Each track is its own world.