CD, Lovethechaos, 2008
Spanish artist Uge Ortiz caused something of a stir in the underground electronica music scene with his critically-acclaimed 2005 debut “Science of Change” – markedly influenced by the likes of Aphex Twin, this was a very complex, yet remarkably playful, album. Following a string of EP releases, remixes and compilation appearances, Ortiz presented his second full-length in 2008.
Titled “Indefinable Sugar Cube”, released on the Spanish electronica label Lovethechaos, this new album shows a somewhat new and mutated AZ-Rotator sound. Upon first listen, it becomes obvious that much of what constitutes the characteristic ‘AZ-Rotator sound’ can still be found in this album, with seemingly random rhythmic and melodic structures being effectively layered into highly-detailed chaotic structures, bound to constantly surprise the listener, perhaps to the point of excess. And here lies what is perhaps what some may considered the flaw of “Indefinable Sugar Cube”: by taking his love of experimentation and detailed chaos to such a level, Ortiz has created an album which hardly gives the listener any respite during the listening experience, each new aural surprise vying for attention and distracting from fully appreciating what came previously. In fact, the only way to fully appreciate this album is to give it one’s undivided attention – multi-tasking while listening to “Indefinable Sugar Cube” is certainly not an option. While deserving of said attention, this is something that will make it a more difficult album for some people to get into.
Interestingly, “Indefinable Sugar Cube” came across as somewhat reminiscent of Frank Zappa. Whether this is the result of Zappa being a direct influence, or the result of an indirect influence coupled with Ortiz’ love and use of vintage gear, there are clear similarities between passages and arrangements in “Indefinable Sugar Cube” and Zappa’s Synclavier compositions in “Jazz From Hell”. Though there are other examples, these similarities are particularly noticeable in the track “Mistake” (which is also a quite coherent and playfully melodic track, offering some respite during the course of the album) and, to a lesser extent, in “Truly Modified” and “Wrong Positive”.
“Indefinable Sugar Cube” can be a difficult album to get into initially and is not the best introduction to AZ-Rotator’s work for the first-time listener. Nevertheless, it is an excellent piece of work and bound to please those who appreciate well-produced, complex IDM and abstract electronica with a playful twist.
— Miguel de Sousa