CD, Lagunamuch Community, 2006
If a good dictionary were to list an up-to-date definition of IDM, it would probably end with the cross-reference, “see Mewark”.
“Little One”, his newest record, is a beginner’s guide to minimal, ambient music, offering the listener all the essentials that IDM should. These include dark, monotonous basslines that build an almost hypnotic backbeat, over which are laid heavily processed and filtered vocal and sinthesized effects and textures. Added to the mix are some gorgeous drum lines – that somehow manage to be rhythmic and abstract at the same time.
There is also a refreshing rawness to the album that, in this age of computerized production, represents a welcome change from the crisp perfection of genres like trance. It makes the album feel home-made – in a complimentary way – as it adds an authenticity that many contemporary recordings lack. In no way do I mean that Mewark’s production talents come up wanting; on the contrary, I think it takes special skill to maintain the edgy, rough sounds of real instrumentation when the temptation to fall back on the clarity of virtual synths is always there.
“Little One” also has another aspect that really counts in its favour – its playfulness. Too many artists take themselves too seriously and this can colour the message behind the music – something that should be avoided, even in a predominantly dark-and-moody genre. There is no danger of this happening in Mewark’s music (see song titles like “Hi Fred” and “Almost Si6x”) which remains a paradoxically light-hearted take on the traditional gloom associated with the sparse, desolate soundscapes of IDM and ambient music.
I would recommend this album to any electronic music afficionado, whether their tastes lie in house, industrial, techno or anywhere else, purely for it being a clever lesson in contrasting mood generation.
— David vander Merwe