Mark Fell | Ten Types of Elsewhere
LINE | CD
Given the focus of 'Ten Types of Elsewhere' on topology, the liner notes' overview of the subject are required reading:
"Topology is a branch of mathematics concerning possible spaces and spatial objects - curves, surfaces, knots, manifolds, phase spaces, symmetrical groups, etc. The work explores a link between objects and alterity through spatial and temporal deformations, twistings, rotatings, reflections and stretchings."
Whilst the rhythmic spatter of SND's output tends towards an abstracted digital groove, and the chaotic digital detritus characteristic of Shirt Trax ranks alongside the best of Hecker and Farmers Manual, Fell - operating under his own name on this, his first solo release for LINE - explores an abstract world of codified representation presented through sound.
There are moments where 'Ten Types of Elsewhere' veers towards SND territory, but they are few and far between. Instead Fell maps a digital space that comprises short, albeit elegant fragments. This is at once the CD's strength and weakness. The eight movements of 'The Transfinite Self' hover around a beautiful Eastern motif before collapsing into, collapsing into, collapsing into... at times frustrating repetition.
'Mirror' jitters and shudders over three condensed movements, barely totalling two minutes, which sound like the mutant offspring of a brief encounter between Autechre and Parliament. A distant groove lurks, forgotten in the endlessly folded moments of the opening movement's 23 seconds - short, sublime and absolutely captivating.
As a series of (dis)connected moments 'Ten Types...' is fascinating listening, however, one longs for a broader exploration of the the CD's differing themes - a feature that remains elusive (but perhaps worth pursuing in future?). But perhaps this is Fell's intention, to use the abstract language of mapped space to explore the notion of condensed cartographic signifiers, digital signposts to a place that exists only in the mind? Whatever, 'Ten Types of Elsewhere' is an arresting atlas well worth exploring.