Blog

alog, “red shift swing”

Artist: alog
Title: red shift swing
Release Date: 1999

alog, red shift swing, released 1999 on rune grammofon[1]

01) drifting west
02) 500,000 years ago
03) the travel light
04) expand the heart
05) lonesome train
06) red shift swing
07) popul vuh
08) tuning the piano
09) a regular hexagon is found in the sand on some beach
10) the sun is where the clouds should be

alog is a pair of laptop musicians, Espen Sommer Eide (who performs solo as phonophani) and Dag-Are Haugen. Built out of samples and processed sound, red shift swing is about mood and atmosphere; their tracks are mostly smooth and mellow, occasionally playful. Their main technique is to create isorhythms – slivers of music that are unequal in length and looped so that they relate to each other differently on every repetition – and release them into the wild, letting them do as they will. Unfortunately, isorhythms alone are not enough to make a piece compelling [2].

Their first album is nearly good, and almost interesting. They have lovely and funky ideas, and actively try to do interesting things with rhythm. I like the processing they apply, and the fact that they don’t always apply it; and the sounds they generate are compelling and new without being harsh.

But not enough happens, nor does it happen quickly enough; listening to nothing but isorhythms play out for 3 minutes before a new element is introduced is not very compelling. I do like “the travel light” and “tuning the piano” even though they suffer from similar problems; but the rest of the album is, well, kinda dull. The two come up with great titles, though.
___

(1) Based out of Norway, they release beautiful, chill electronica…among other things, of course. And their sleeve art – by Kim Hiorthøy, another electronic artist but on a different label – is one of my favorite things about them.

(2) I’ve tried it myself, so I’m an authority.