Spatial Relation create their work in a minimal zone where stripped down yet expressive monophonic synthesizer arrangements meet an unusual female vocalist that delivers just the right touch of sensuality and provocation. Mirroring automated intercom announcements and audible mechanized thought, Lissette's lyrics and vocals use an almost binary process of comparing diametrical opposites and salient observations with the intent of triggering a conscious awareness of our own personal estrangements from the world. As the listener is guided through flow chart like paths of logic summation designed to set off memory flashes of cold and disconnected experiences, something hypnotic occurs. A dark Orwellian algebra against an early Kraftwerkian backdrop, the music leaves the listener with feelings of being psychologically experimented on and seduced.
Methodology in hand, the Brooklyn New York duo seem to have staked out territory that is right in front of most electronic musicians but is seldom claimed, the place of an artful investigation on the plane of "less is more." Far too sophisticated to be panned off as garden variety synth pop, and much to honest to be accused of engaging in any sort of pomp and circumstance, their music maintains a shrewd experimental edge and sharp witted sensibility landing them somewhere within the vanguard. And while there are elements here that are very danceable, it would be safe to say that Spatial Relation are less concerned with getting you to lift your feet than they are in jump starting your mind into the act of visualization. Listening to their music is a cerebral experience that inspires an informed primal reaction.
First up is "Phantoms of the Future," a post apocalyptic warning which reminds us to acknowledge our "ghosts of the past" but not to let them keep us from waits ahead, however confining that future might be. From the opening sequencer that mimics a computer in the act of sounding an intrusion or hacking alarm, the responsibility to reconcile a relentless array and seldom reoccurring palette of choice synthesizer colors falls on the listener. From song to song the patches are so striking and impassioned they often require more than one listen to fully absorb. Partly due to the stark minimal setting and partly due to their own peculiarity, there is a inventive eloquence within these sounds that is certainly tangible and sensory.
If there is a pop hit on the LP it is "Tacit Knowledge." Built on a danceable sawtooth wave form bass progression that interacts with a dark and unearthly vintage synthesizer arpeggiation, the electronic arrangement is odd enough to force your attention and yet harmonic enough to burn it into your cells. Sometimes coming at you as a voltage laden wall of sound and other times reducing itself to a bare bones Post Modern affair, the vehicle is actually fueled by the pandemonium of the build up and the drama of the sudden drop off. By the time Lissette delivers her appraisal of the qualities and quantitative properties of tacit knowledge the job is done. Simply unforgettable and guaranteed to be a club hit and party favorite, "Tacit Knowledge has the potential to become an underground classic and propel Spatial Relation forward on their mission.
In contrast productions like "Graphic Moves" and "Mysteries of Chance" find themselves at the other end of the spectrum where those who prefer a more artsy and innovative listen will be at home. Straight forward and driven by concussive drum machine sonics these two compositions could easily be edited into sound art pieces at museum installations. Constructed only of analogue essentials and spoken word, they are no less effective at vexation and manage to stimulate the listener to question the perceptions of musical boundaries.
Setting forth their debut LP "Beyond The Zero," Spatial Relation have been much more aware of what they were trying to achieve than most other bands with their first efforts. Maintaining a common thread of intellectual prodding, staying focused on how all of the work connects together, and being wily about how and what can be extracted from their medium, have enabled them to create an album of unique cognizance. Extremely minimalistic in its approach, yet never under worked, the balance between what is natural talent and academic endeavor is meticulously metered and produces a praise worthy result. Highly recommended.
by Mark Lane
Artist Link: https://www.facebook.com/spatialrelation