Ntropy – Diither


This is the first post by a new and awesome Ovrld contributor, Geoff Earle. For those of you who don’t already know him, here is a little bit about him and his journey.

Geoff Earle is a quasi-human whose interests include: making music, listening to music, making homemade queso, and watching as many cartoons as possible. He has lived in Austin for eight years, and has worked as an event promoter, copywriter, musician, corporate chauffeur, and service industry all-star. He also happens to play in a band called Fresh Millions that others at Ovrld really enjoy. Read through Geoff’s review of Ntropy’s new album below.

Another producer can be added to the burgeoning list of talents in Texas.  NTROPY’s debut full-length album Diither, which comes out today (11/11/11) on Austin’s [iN]SECT Records, proves once again the depths of the electronic music scene in the lone star state.

Maybe I should insert a qualifier.  This album is NOT dubstep.

Over the past few years, it seems that one genre has come to define the perception of “electronic music” in the eyes (read: ears) of the general public.

Diither challenges this perception.  It could almost be viewed as a throwback album, in a sense.  NTROPY is clearly a fan of the type of innovation that came from Warp Records back in the 90’s.  And thank god for that.  In a climate of endless VST plug-ins designed to achieve the same sounds over and over, Diither is a much-needed breather, focused on composition and innovation rather than a particular sound.

Strangely enough Diither begins with vocals, which do not make another appearance on the record.  It’s first track, “NTROPY 2L”, reminds me of Telefon Tel Aviv’s later work.  The vocals are manipulated further and further as the track progresses.

The next stand out on the record is the fourth track “OPYNTR 8J”.  It swirls and changes rapidly, in nearly a-melodic fashion, showcasing NTROPY’s sequencing abilities.  It’s definitely reminiscent of later composers in the glitch/IDM genre, specifically The Flashbulb’s Kirlian Selections

Diither‘s crown jewel, so to speak, comes in it’s final track “PORTNY 88”.  Check out a healthy snippet of the song below. Impressive glitched-out synths open and are quickly contrasted by an epic, major-key piano part.  Again some Warp-records-ish drum programming serves as the rhythm, creating an effect that is, uh, pretty fucking rad.

This record is a solid listen.  It’s innovative, quite impressive for a debut record and risky, given that it’s in a genre that may have past the height of it’s popularity.  Diither is able to capture some of what made IDM’s beginnings so exciting at certain points, and occasionally it reaches the sublime.

It is available for purchase here, or on cassette here.  NTROPY will also be performing tonight at Exploded Drawing, part 10 of the local event series founded by Butcher Bear and Soundfounder (two mainstays in the Texas electronic music realm).

I highly recommend you come.  These shows are always a blast.

-Geoff