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Hakan Lidbo - 6/10/60

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Artist: Hakan Lidbo

Album: 6/10/60

Label: Mitek

Review date: Oct. 7, 2002

Decayed Precision for Opiated Gatherings

As if documenting the sounds of molecular movements, amplifying what was once quiet in order to make it audible, Swedish producer Hakan Lidbo’s 6/10/60 presents minimalist dub-field electronica spiced with blips and tickles of deconstructed sound. As if to emphasize the anonymity of the sounds, the six tracks here are merely numbered, and each is exactly ten minutes long, leaving nothing but the sonic content itself to serve as a concrete identifier.

This could be music for those living in a clockwork society, the sound of machinery carefully ordering existence. Each sound is in its place, sequenced with precision, but the quality of the sounds nonetheless gives the music an appealing sense of freedom. This paradox, precision versus freedom, may be at the heart of Lidbo's compositions. On the one hand, the rhythms don't vary greatly during the countdown of each song, though they can be admittedly peculiar, and hence don't lack interest. On the other hand, the sounds themselves often seem in danger of breaking apart. Clicks and emissions of static pop up with regularity, but their inherent quality of decay makes them interesting for their own sake. Their relationship with each other is the mystery.

The second track, for example, is on the face of it an almost techno-house song, except that it has been stripped down and slowed down until it more closely resembles the decayed skeleton of a house track. A sparse kick-snare combination beats like an insistent heart, augmented by clinical delays and austere synth hits. Meanwhile bits of static insert themselves, sometimes spanning across the soundfield like plastic stretched to its limit.

Careful listening will also show that sounds are re-used throughout the songs here; for all I know, these might be six remixes of the same original recordings. Certainly the sonic palette used is consistent throughout. This is both an advantage and a problem, as it provides a framework within which the songs are clearly members of the same family, while also carrying the danger of over-familiarity during the album's sixty minutes.

6/10/60 could have been an exercise yielding cold, overly-arranged electronics over repetitive beats, but instead Lidbo's care has paid off and provided us with ingenious sonic manipulations that reward attention while also letting the listener sit back and drift if they prefer. The sedate, almost tranquilized atmospheres may not be the choice for outright partying, but you might consider this for your next opiated gathering. It'll keep the heart pumping and the brain drifting.

By Mason Jones

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