CD, Parametric, 2005
“Equilibre” is a very interesting and rather enjoyable debut release by talented French artist Antony Dokhac (alias S.H.I.Z.U.K.A.), continuing the ‘tradition’ of great releases from French electronic music label Parametric. It should be obvious (and not just from the project name) that Japanese culture is a major influence for S.H.I.Z.U.K.A. and quite possible that the artist as found some inspiration in traditional Japanese music for the composition of this album.
Immediately noticeable when listening to “Equilibre” is the sound quality which is excellent, to say the least. This kind of skilled production work, pretty much a given fact when considering Parametric releases, obviously doesn’t make a good album per se but it definitely enhances what is already good music into greater heights.
S.H.I.Z.U.K.A.’s music in “Equilibre” is a very personal and emotional aural voyage. In a way, it can almost be considered as meditation music. Despite the beat structures, there is a definite feeling of calm contemplation and reflection underlying all of the music pieces in the album. The beats, traditionally more associated with body motion and action, actually assist to the mood of the album, not allowing the listener’s attention to drift away from the music. Interestingly, some tracks have a definite tension in them, a tension that is released in the tracks themselves, or in subsequent ones, enriching the experience of the calmer, contemplative tracks.
As can be noticed from this album, S.H.I.Z.U.K.A. has a very good sense of composition. The compositions are very skilled and possess elegant subtleties, noticed only with serious listening, despite the apparent simplicity of the sound layering (three sound layers at most in every track unless I’m missing something). In most tracks in “Equilibre” there is a definite balance between beat-structures and more melodic soundscapes, neither being more important than the other.
There are a few tracks that could be dance-friendly here (like “Human Error”) and a few tracks are great pieces on their own (“La Petite Fille” comes to mind). However, this is an album to experience as a whole, that requires (and deserves) the listener’s undivided attention.
“Equilibre” includes extras in the form of a multimedia track, presented through a Quicktime interface, as has been standard with Parametric releases, with extra remix tracks (by Dither, OTX and Flint Glass) in MP3 format and videos. The videos feature new tracks and tracks from the album accompanying manga-styled drawings by the artist as well as film clips. Very nice treats rounding up an excellent release.
— Miguel de Sousa