Lackluster: Slice: Textura Review


Working from his flat in the nation's capital Helsinki, Finnish electronic composer Esa Ruoho is nothing if not prolific. Having issued hundreds of tracks over the years for labels like Defocus and Merck, Ruoho added two full-lengths to his discography in 2005: What You Want Isn't What You Need (New Speak), a collection of material spanning 1996 and 2003, and Slice, his fifth full-length and first release on Belgium label U-cover since Spaces four years ago.

The music's wholly electronic character avoids sounding hermetic by the range of moods and textures explored within the disc's thirteen songs, whether it's placid pools of melancholy (“Clover”) or gleaming cathedrals (“Wallow”). Not surprisingly, the subtly percolating “Zithertrak2” brings a brooding Far East ambiance to the set while electronic music rarely sounds as sweet and tender as it does on the lovely “Hugytrak.” There's nary a speck of grime dirtying up Lackluster's gleaming IDM, though a sparkling bounce animates “Touches” and bubbly, Plaid-like beats stream throughout “Wash”; there's certainly nothing lackluster about the Latin-tinged romp “Tumbling Around” and the hazy head-nodder “Subvert.” Much like What You Want Isn't What You Need, the melancholic, soulful sound Lackluster conjures on Slice may not be revolutionary yet nonetheless offers a generous dose of listening pleasure.

January 2006