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in medias res
hymen   2000
  see also
"polycontrale contra punkte"
"spontaneous human combustion"
"coincidentia oppositorum"
"003 + 024 + 2X = 727"
hymen website
official beefcake website

album rating: 2

submitted by anton on 2-Jul-2000
this 4-track vinyl complements the atmosphere created by full length ("coincidentia oppositorum"). unlike the cd, it is not a solid flowing composition arbitrarily divided into tracks, but rather 4 standalone tracks that offer different perspectives on band's new sound.

starting with track one, we are immersed into minimal techno with soft keys and subtle beats driving a pleasant warm melody with steady rich atmosphere with few simple elements used throughout the track. while the core of the track stays the same, variety of deep strings, tempo changes and rhythmic progressions gives it enough variation to be classified as idm. overall, if I didn't know it was beefcake, I would have hardly recognized this track.

second track is unmistakably beefcake - collage of intricate unique beats with deep dark strings on the background. percussion develops at rapid pace, and when you expect a powerful progression, it stumbles over itself, collapses and disappears replaced by next wave of bizarre beats. erratic and unexpected, sharp crispy sounds bubble throughout the track; taken out of context they might be called funky or even funny, but together they provide a solid atmosphere, which is not as flowing as earlier beefcake work, but more unexpected and, if you wish, "experimental". a little similarity to some of black lung or xingu hill material could be heard here (especially compared to "andronechron incident", that was of course a lot slower and mysterious than this track, but definitely exploring the same music realms). this track appears to be a tribute to "old" beefcake sound; it is the darkest and most technoid track on this record.

third track starts out with swirling fast-paced percussion in usual beefcake manner, but somehow despite all the breaks and turns, it manages to remain steady enough backed by soft keys and funky little noises. this song is a pure percussion playground, similar to the track on the full-length album that was absolutely devoid of any string elements. overall, this is a very mellow track that be easily mistaken for a high-speed and hi-tec version of boards of canada track off "music has the right to children".

to take this resemblance even further, last track is filled with laughter and cries of children (boards of canada again?), rich and gentle funky percussion, full of little soft noises. somehow it balances on the fine line between being completely goofy and being just a soft relaxed melodic techno. very slow-paced and simple, it probably would be a biggest surprise to anyone that liked their earlier sound. this track seems to indicate how far the band could move from their debut album. last 30 seconds of a track are like a gust of a cold wind with a few seconds of usual beefcake percussion fading out into quiet nothingness.

if you play this record at 33rpm instead of recommended 45 (something that worked remarkably well with new passarani), you will experience a down-tempo, minimal intricate sounds that seem to be richer and deeper than the original record, adding a slightly darker and dreamier edge to the music. since you are not being as overwhelmed with high-speed percussion anymore, you get some insight into how the intricate soundscapes were made, a sort of easily-available reverse-engineering technique that at the same time gives you yet another perspective on the band's sound.

after listening to two latest beefcake releases for a while, I can say that this time the band has created a different type of music experience; first two releases were easily acceptable and instantly loved by everyone - the duo used a lot of easily-acceptable conventional song structures, mixing intricate percussion and rich lush strings, the moods created were complex and solid, easily finding the way to the hearts of listeners. when the audience finally grew up to understand and enjoy their music, they discovered that meanwhile the band was not standing still, but moving onwards, taking their sound to the next level. last two releases are a lot more of "music for the mind", where you cannot just relax and flow with the sound, but you have to pay close attention noticing the uniqueness of the elements used, the unusual song structures, the variety of instruments. this is definitely a step that many would not be willing to take, refusing to understand and accept band's new direction.

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