2CD, Tympanik Audio, 2007
“Emerging Organisms” hatches from an attractive digipak of cool, muted colors and minimal design. An admirable first effort from Chicago-based Tympanik Audio, it was released in late 2007, compiling a group of exclusive, rare, remixed and unreleased tracks from both major players and lesser-known projects in the dark ambient, IDM and technoid industrial categories. A veritable pile of unadulterated dark electronic psychoses and shining atmospheres, the addictive mood kindled by volume one of the Hidden Forms compilation series establishes a precedent that will prove difficult for later installments to match. Its positive qualities lie in not only the selection of tracks, but also in their arrangement. If there is one thing that sets “Emerging Organisms” apart, it is the compilation’s challenging potential to infatuate the listener.
The first disc contains fourteen penetrating cuts ranging from Architrav’s introductory ambient grinder, “Bewegungsspielraum,” to what must be the hardest Dryft remix in existence (reworking Architect’s “Stairway”). Stacked in between like so much glinting and weighty bullion are assorted mind-blowing abstract acid crawlers. Rekt, for instance, contradicts the aforementioned subdued opener with “Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb,” quiet moodiness that builds into a bubbling dark churner. Lucidstatic offers one of the compilation’s roughest numbers, the thoroughly menacing hard breaker, “Night Vision.” Displacer’s intelligent treatment of “Caine in the Brain” by Architect is a remarkable study in forward motion, and “Power of Ideas” from Totakeke (Tympanik has released his second full-length album) rises out of its ambiguous start to a brilliant, soaring second half. Additionally, it must be mentioned that Distraub’s “Motion Sensor” and “Imix (Hidden Forms Remix)” from Tzolk’in are fully capable of worming holes straight through the cerebral cortex – these tracks are dark electronics at its best: psychedelic and subversive, crisp on the outside and hot and gooey in the middle. Consider yourself warned.
Not to be overlooked, the second disc of “Emerging Organisms” holds some gems of its own among fifteen additional tracks. Like the first, it embraces a diverse array of uncluttered sounds sculpted in effortless fusion. Stendeck’s “Like Falling Crystals (Disharmony Remix)” is a solid reinterpretation of an already titan number, its fervent orchestrations like icing on the grooving breakbeats driving it forward. Following this, the stompy industrial glee in “Stalwart” by Freeze Etch interjects a bit of carefree fun, while Ginormous lends a melodic and gothic-tinged number to the compilation with “Part of Him Died That Night.” Not much else, however, can match the wide angles and symphonic opulence of IDM-tweaked “Shadow Codex” from Phylum Sinter. Plush bass hits and haunting tones permeating Flaque’s “Black Shadows in the Fog” play on paranoia and threaten the awakening of some long-dormant unnamed thing. Mnemonic feat. Qasot offers quieter articulations with “Porous Dreams,” shadowy contrasts that lull the soul even as jittery rhythms cohere in silk-smooth organic burps and cadences. Perhaps a bit less ear-catching overall when compared with the first, the second disc yet manages to tease the synapses.
— Dutton Hauhart