Oct 2021 31

Album CoverDefrag
Album: Idle Lines
Category: IDM / Experimental
Label: Kaer’Uiks
Release Date: 2021-09-03


It has been six years since Jeff Dodson took on the mantle of Defrag, concentrating his creative efforts since on filmmaking and sound design. Although clocking in at under 25 minutes, Idle Lines shows Dodson returning to the experimental IDM project with renewed vigor. Throughout these nine tracks, the artist demonstrates a heightened level of intricate programming and sophisticated arrangements, expanding on the cosmic themes that permeated his 2009 Lament Element and the internal and emotive focus of 2014’s Drown into a grander scope; Idle Lines infuses more of Dodson’s cinematic sensibilities, with virtually every track serving as a mini-soundtrack to the depths of human experience. For example, “A Space Inside” enters with despondent passages of glitch-laden sound, seemingly devoid of a discernible rhythm to anchor the listener, instead plunging them into paroxysms of malfunctioning electronics; the glimmers of a melodic progression gradually appear within the miasma, only to dissipate as the track ends. “Anjuray” juxtaposes somber pianos and discordant waves of orchestral ambience with furiously charged beats that seem to shuffle through multiple rhythmic structures, while breathy vocal tones create a languid tempo upon which plucking melodies, sustained bass, and gritty percussion roam free on the title track. And then there is the closing track, “Hand,” which almost sounds like a mangled form of synthwave with its classic ‘80s-esque brassy tones and the throbbing bass, mutated into a spastic IDM variant in which light piano chords add some harmonic counterpoint to guide us through a lithe conclusion of radiant pads. As an auteur as well as a musician, it’s quite thrilling to hear Dodson not only return to Defrag after such an extended absence, but to hear him pursuing an innovative merger of his various skills; indeed, listening to Idle Lines, this writer is reminded of the soundtrack he created for the Metroid: The Sky Calls short he co-produced, albeit coupled with the more aggressively manic stylings of his earlier Defrag output. At less-than-25-minutes, one can only hope that this EP is a primer for a fuller expansion of these ideas on a later release.
Track list:

  1. Still Marks
  2. Idle Lines
  3. We Are Foam
  4. A Space Inside
  5. The Place Between
  6. Stepping
  7. Anjuray
  8. Crossing Under
  9. Hand

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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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