Ametsub – The Nothings of the North

Ametsub - The Nothings of the North

CD, Mille Plateaux, 2010
www.drizzlecat.org

For the record, this clicks’n’cuts stuff isn’t really my forte, but I liked what I have heard from this guy, so I figured I’d give it a go. Keep in mind that this is all coming from the perspective of an IDM fan. Anyhow, “The Nothings of the North” is a glitch/IDM release from Mille Plateaux. I’m not terribly familiar with that label, but I get the idea that this is what they specialize in. If that’s true, then I should probably check out more of their releases because this one is quite solid and I would be pleased to know that more like it exists.
Ametsub creates very subdued soundscapes comprising of choppy bits of future jazz, complex melodies, fuzzy atmospheres, a plethora of pops & clicks, and IDM sentiments. This kind of music always reminds me of the soundtrack to Katamari Damancy – that sort of whimsical, abstract, lighthearted/carefree sunny day vibe (I imagine it would be great to listen to during a morning snowfall), yet with a hint of underlying melancholy and contemplation. It’s certainly unobtrusive and easy to listen to, but it’s also quite deep and complex should you take the time to delve further into it. A lot of different things happen inside each of the tracks, even if the atmosphere occupies a singular location for the duration. I want to touch on the production briefly and say that it’s really nice to hear an album that is not overcompressed! That aspect works really well considering this is downtempo music.
This album was originally released on Progressive Form in Japan, and the Mille Plateaux version has two bonus tracks. The first is a remix of “Repeatedly”, by Helios, which starts off on the ambient side but slowly builds into a percussive piece that sounds very similar to the original with added low end. The second is the ‘video edit’ of “Repeatedly” which seems to just be a shorter and louder version of the original.
My only real critique of this album is that it all kind of sounds the same, and a lot of the same sounds make their way into many of the tracks. The only throwaway track here is “66”, which seems to be solely comprised of random/directionless reversed noises for three and a half minutes. Either way, “The Nothings of the North” is a really good album to chill out to. For fans of Alva Noto, jazzier Funckarma, Az-Rotator, Pleq, etc. (there are probably many artists who are much more similar that I am unaware of!). Put on some headphones, close your eyes and drift away.

— Dan Barrett [8.5/10]