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Stewart Walker & Geoff White - Discord

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Artist: Stewart Walker & Geoff White

Album: Discord

Label: Force Inc.

Review date: Dec. 17, 2003

Mille Plateaux and Force Inc. have released a plethora of click-no and glitch house recordings by artists who arrange clicks, beats and assorted sounds to exponential permutations. The variations are apparently infinite, but the results are often formulaic, and don’t always make for memorable listening. Generally, if you have heard one click-no album, you have heard most of them. That is not to say that Mille Plateaux/Force Inc. are without memorable recordings, with Discord being a case in point to the contrary.

Geoff White and Stewart Walker are veterans in the techno scene who have released notable CDs and 12”s on a variety of respectable labels. White issued the And They’re Off 12” on Force Inc. in 2000, followed by the full-length Questions and Comments, an untitled 12” on Cytrax, on top of contributing to compilations from the likes of Tigerbeat6. Similarly, Walker has found time to release his works on Force Inc., Mille Plateaux and Tresor while operating his own label, Persona.

Together White and Walker have embarked on a track-for-track tag team match that flows together so seamlessly that it contravenes the album title. So what sets Discord apart from the droves of click-no/glitch-house material Force Inc./Mille Plateaux releases? Whereas much in the way of click n’ glitch, or even most techno for that matter, comes off as two-dimensional (not always a detrimental quality), music on this record exudes a third dimension. Discord tracks are melodic as opposed to straight-up textural excursions or loops that serve as mere DJ tools; with a slight residue of organic elements. It is almost as if these tracks are a robot character from the movie A.I. striving to become human. Moreover, the detailing on Discord is so deliciously rich and varied that it is difficult to grasp the myriad of sounds at once, sort of like juggling with too many objects. Rather, it is better to just sit back and enjoy the complexity.

Discord is best heard through clear speakers, as to appreciate its subtle details like acoustic guitar strings, layered keyboard notes and minutely detailed rhythms. Admittedly, the album lurches at the beginning like a limping droid – but the initial awkwardness morphs into a sensuous swivel and sway. This movement gives way to rigorous gyrations that tingle and build into to a toe-curling climax. An atmospheric pensiveness then drifts in to help gain momentum for even more peak moments. White and Walker have managed to create a seamless yet soulful, funky dialogue with just the right amount of atmospherics, dubby reverb effects and hovering keyboard sweeps. Listening to this exchange did something I have not heard a Force Inc. release do in a while. It took me on a journey.

By I Khider

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