Esa Ruoho: Riversmouth: The Sound Projector Review
Another item from the Attenuation Circuit envelope of January 2012 is by the Finnish musician Esa Ruoho. As Lackluster, he’s been working in the area of avant-garde Techno music for a long time, but Riversmouth (ACM 1009) is not modern disco hoppery – it’s twenty minutes of ambiguous and exploratory drone work produced by digital means. We’re invited to savour its minimalist leanings, but Ruoho’s work here seems to me just a shade too cluttered to qualify as pure digital glitch, that near-inhuman genre of electronic music which constantly celebrates its characteristic steely glint and diamond claw. Ruoho prefers soft edges and undefined contours to the geometric Raster-Noton grid. He cannot resist introducing harmonies, textures, washes, and additional tones on top of the basic calm undercurrents he generates, almost adding elements at random until a certain pleasing unpredictability is achieved. The path is far from clear and the original aims are being steadily forgotten. The short piece feels like a journey across the surface of a huge lake that’s been half-filled with blue jelly.