CD, DOPE Records, 2009
A cross-section of “PLUS”, the newest release from Israel-based artist tokee (Anatoly Grinberg), reveals key stylistic influences plucked from distinct wavelengths in electronic music’s spectrum. From the tough, upfront breakbeats of “Th”, the seething darkrave of “Bk” and hints of hardcore in “No” and “Np”, to the funky clicks and chirps in “Pu” and ruminative, rainy day ambience of “Am”, tokee offers a collection of tracks that are diverse, yet unsurprisingly befitting each other. Aside from dropping some serious breakbeat constructions of the ‘move your ass’ variety, the album’s main appeal springs from its more sinister, hedonistic and acid tendencies.
With the exception of a regrettable choice of opener (“Ac” and its failed nod to industrial noise – good industrial, bad noise), “PLUS” has a magnetic quality about it, certainly more so for those who will tune in to the music’s heritage. Beginning from track two, the remaining fourteen compositions find their roots in electro/IDM, rave and especially industrial, yet all from a satisfying dark electronic and technoid angle. “Cf”, for example, practically verges on happy hardcore territory, but the playful bubbles and bouncing beat are twisted, shadowed with paranoia. Likewise, aforementioned “Th” evolves from its rugged breaks and soaring atmospheres into a trance/industrial epic. Booming and vital, “Fm” (a personal favorite) transforms into archetypical darkrave once its own breakbeat pacing cuts in, and “Bk” falls right in line as another definitive ‘old skool’ churner on the album, complete with squealing, whale-like effects.
“PLUS” is overall mechanical and chemical, relying more upon crisp beats, shaking bass and sweeping builds than organic forms to impact its listener, all with that unmistakable industrial flavor. When piano does make an appearance, for instance the plaintive keystrokes on “Pa”, it compliments the bottom-heavy flow nicely. This more ambient side of tokee can veer sharply into the ominous (ghostlike “Md”) or the abstract (funky, trip going bad “Lr”), though “PLUS” in general gravitates toward the ‘clack-clack’ insistence of hardcore undertones in combination with gut-shivering industrial modulations. These hints are potent, bringing with them wide-eyed, amphetamine-fueled visions – the darkest sort of bliss.
— Dutton Hauhart