Reso - Tangram
The strange and fascinating world of Reso is not something that one goes into lightly. Deftly treading a line between melodic and abrasive, its creator's percussion-heavy approach to making music both for the head and the heart is something to be applauded. As 65-minute electronic odysseys go, this is a surprisingly accessible and immediate one. Having been trailed by the intriguingly spacey Ishimura - which is recontextualised on the album but nonetheless provides an accurate indicator of how willing he is to experiment within the field of electronic music, fusing elements of jungle with some tech house and even a little (just a little) dubstep - the album more than lives up to its promise. This should serve as fair warning to most of you, however: it's as exhilarating as it is potentially exhausting. There's so much ground covered that, even in the rather wide spectrum of electronic music, Tangram should rightfully be regarded as a head-spinning collection. Connoisseurs of the genre will find plenty to enjoy, and even those who haven't yet been convinced by Alex Melia's brand of sonic wizardry may see the light. It's that good.
Things kick off off with the melodic urgency of 'Exoframe', whose arpeggiating synth lines lead into a forceful 'drop', the drums kicking in ferociously and guiding the track through a breathtakingly intense soundscape, everything held together by the interlocked synths and percussion. It's a full-on introduction to Melia's style, and the fact that he decides to change things up almost immediately with 'Creature's' glitchy textures tells you everything you need to know abut how he operates. The album is a wild ride, and there's barely any let-up, in terms of its diversity or otherwise (from there, we are thrown into the jaw-dropping tech-step workout of 'Axion'), but when the more laid-back moments arrive, and the listener is allowed to catch their breath, everything else is given the opportunity to sink in, and that's when Tangram makes its full impact. Settling into a more laid-back stretch, the album navigates the blissful ambience of 'Coronium' and the immediate, atmospheric (not to mention aptly-named) 'Simple Pleasures', as well as 'Virtua Rhythm', which could have fit on an old side-scrolling platform video game with little difficulty, before rounding out the album's first segment with 'Interlude'.
At this point, there are still 6 tracks to go, so any slackening at this point would be ill-advised - 'Nempo' brings Melia's high-energy side back into play, balancing it with some more contemplative touches, as well as a simple yet haunting piano line. The inventive rhythms of 'Backwards Glance' help its 6-minute running time to fly by, before all hell breaks loose on 'Half Life', lulling the listener into a false sense of security with undulating synths before exploding into life. 'Tabris' brings things to a close in suitably powerful fashion, dealing with changes in tempo and dynamics with an impressive ease and bringing the curtain down on what is one of the most compelling albums of 2012 in any genre. It's quite important to keep an open mind when listening to it, as one never knows where Tangram will take them next, and this unpredictability makes it thrilling. Fasten your seatbelt before you embark on this journey, however: as per the sample on penultimate track 'Check 1,2', Reso doesn't fuck around.