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Wandering In A World Without Gravity captures renowned techno producer/DJ Jerry Abstract in the early stages of his home-studio wizardry, just before he rose to prominence in Seattles electronic-music scene. Under the moniker Former Selv, he created the bulk of these tracks from 2002-2004, but they originally only circulated on CD-R among a tight circle of Emerald City comrades. Lying dormant for a decade has not dimmed the brilliance of the nine tracks Peloton Musique has gathered for this release.

Abstract is known and loved as a rambunctious performer and individual and some of that side of his personality seeps into the music here. But more often its his introspective, sensitive inclinations that color the works on Wandering. Abstract says, Former Selv was an experiment in recreating sounds of my past lives and/or times based off of empathetic and quite vivid memories of friendships, family, places, and actions.

Endless Passage opens the album with a muted foghorn motif evoking a grim melancholy. What could be Martian tidal waves roll in, making this sliver of gloomy ambience utterly intriguing. Forbidden Peak punctures the solemnity with metallic electro that out-funks Phoenecia, as a piercing, poignant synth pad haloes the metronomic whiplashings.

Former Selv drops more advanced rhythm science on Forest Vox, whose staccato beats spatter weird geometry under a forlorn synth melody of Eno-esque delicacy and beauty, and Whydoido, which achieves the trick of casting a sternly gorgeous synth motif over remorseless beats going through maniacal machinations. Its an exhilarating contrast that Autechre perfected and on which Former Selv places his own distinctive spin.

Wandering also has its share of excellent beatless material. Nuv exudes a muted, cavernous atmosphere thats absolutely Plutonian in its icy desolation, a la Lull and Thomas Koner. Crimson Plateauwhich was recorded in 1992 while Abstract was going to high school in Detroitis a spacious guitar-and-effects piece that emits powerful rays of majestic wonder. The album closes with Monkis Tear, a morose meditation thats like a sorrowful goodbye set to waxing and waning distorted accordions. After some staggering highs and chilling lows, the record has come full circle. As a portrait of the artist as a young man, Wandering In A World Without Gravity conveys dramatic sonic extremes in tracks whose technical sophistication doesnt come at the expense of potent emotional depth.


Wandering In A World Without Gravity