CD, Tympanik Audio, 2009
Undermathic is the electronic alter ego of one Maciej Paszkiewicz from Poland. Although electronic music wasn’t his first love (there’s a lot of industrial sounds going on here) he’s now moved in to electronic with a grace very few seem to manage. His sound certainly does fit in well with the Tympanik family, and those who have liked Pandora’s Black Book and Autoclav 1.1’s releases for Tympanik will love this.
“Return to Childhood” takes a while to get in to, at least I found that to be true. I found the clashes between the dark industrial, and the beautiful synths a little hard to listen to at first, and some tracks, like opening track “Independence” was something of an aural assault as there are swathes of heavy beats one moment, and then pretty, twinkling, piano sounds the next, and when they fall together it doesn’t seem to gel. “Keep Out No Entry” is much smoother and less harsh, more guitars this time and the beats are much less intrusive. I do love the fact that Undermathic uses natural instruments as well as the electronic elements – some tracks bear some resemblance to the mighty 65daysofstatic due to this. “Understanding” takes a note out of Ginormous’s book, and I’m sure there’s some violin in there somewhere. “Lighthouse” has a strange feeling to it which I can’t quite put my finger on; in one instance it is slightly spooky, but the gentle lilt of it seems to lull you in to a strange sense of security at the same time; plays with your mind a little – it is possibly my favourite track.
In all though “Return to Childhood” doesn’t quite find an easy flow. It feels disjointed, as there really are moments of genius but they seem to be sandwiched between big, crashing, walls of heavy industrial sounds and whilst some people will appreciate that, it didn’t do much for me.
Also Tympanik is in danger of becoming a very niche label. There are some releases of recent note (ESA and Displacer) that stand out as being very different sounding, but a lot of what they are releasing is dark, industrial tinged, electronic. I know there is a market for this sort of thing, and Tympanik have become one of the big labels to sit up and pay attention to, but they need to start releasing more of a mixed range – like Hymen, and (the very much missed) Hive Records as examples. I’m no expert at this record label business, but, in all aspects of life, mixing it up a little is never a bad thing.
— Kate Turgoose