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Nadia Struiwigh Lenticular

The dynamic range of Lenticular is its strength, but there are few moments of real excitement.

Released: 30 June 2017
Lenticular

The real strength of electronic music is its potentially limitless pool of available sounds and Dutch producer Nadia Struiwigh has strong skills in this area. By taking familiar synth pads and mixing in new and more abstract sounds, sometimes burying them in the background and sometimes sticking them up front, Struiwigh keeps her modern sound fresh and vital on Lenticular.

Breezing in with a textured, floating ambience in the form of ‘Intrope’, Lenticular gets off to an unconventional start, humanising the wash of electronic sound with hazy guitar patterns. It's the longest track here at over eight minutes, and it's all textured ambience imbued with a strange kind of spacey optimism. Once the stuttering synths of ‘Space Tribe’ carry this soundscape forward in a more structured way and the bassy beat takes hold, the core of the album’s techno-leaning vibe is revealed.

The best tracks here, like ‘Genetically’ and the title track, take slowly progressing journeys through building layers of sound, refusing to stay still. There are regular returns to barren soundscapes in between the beat-driven moments, at times reminiscent of Swedish duo Carbon Based Lifeforms. However, the influence of the most restrained practitioners of ‘IDM’ is ever-present, the title track specifically culminating in a psychedelic dance powerhouse.

Things take a turn towards the sinister at the end, with ‘PLCS’ hinting at a much darker side to Struiwigh’s music and final track ‘010101’ submitting to hard-hitting noise and wrapping things up in completely opposite style to how they started.

The dynamic range of Lenticular is its strength, but there are few moments of real excitement. The looping music box whirl of ‘4Es’ is particularly tiresome in its repetition - the ostinato of ‘Trip in Fiction’ being a much better example of how to execute this kind of recurring idea - and in other places the more languid moments could benefit from additional melodies or samples to hold interest. However, there is much to enjoy on Lenticular when taken as an ambient techno soundtrack.

Richard Spencer