NATHANIEL YOUNG “Stringed Exploits” C14 (Phinery)

Hear the strings that struck themselves, the artist (magician) overseeing, casting spells upon instruments and computer software and bidding his subjects to their own internal sense of euphonic creation. It seems, although it’s not true, that Brooklyn artist Nathaniel Young merely stood back and let the music happen upon his watch. This is not Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 (although I would never fault you for listening to that). This is a carefully controlled supernova of unexpected tonality, a burst of creativity and meaning in fourteen short minutes.

Long a fixture of experimental music circles, Young operates labels such Blankstairs, Debacle Records, and Motor, the influence of his near-infinite connections coalescing into a singularity of compositional thought. Distilling the ideas of instrumentation, melody, and mood into pure waveforms, Young expands the ideas of what this type of sound manipulation can mean, and he keeps the listener within arm’s reach even as his concepts spiral further from a universal center. Pointillist rhythms, splotchy harmonic vapor trails, and sometimes even discernible instruments swirl around one another in a miniature maelstrom. All “exploits” lead to pure, weird satisfaction on a micro level.

That Young found a home among likeminded artists on Phinery is no surprise – the label continues to churn out amazing releases. And Young’s entry into the larger pantheon, while small in size, resonates deeply. Guys like Seth Graham and G.S. Sultan better watch their backs (and yes I realize that’s shilling for Orange Milk too, so what?). Academic-minded electronic music has never felt so alive! Now wave those magic wands in the face of logic and reason and be transformed.

--Ryan Masteller