Hydra is Danish electronica artist Rasmus Fisker’s debut album.
‘Immersion’ has been the keyword throughout the creation of the eight compositions and two improvisations that make up the album. The tracks are immediately comprehensible to the listener thanks to Rasmus’ fine musical craft, but careful listening unlocks a gratifying journey through a very attractive and lavish sonic world. Rasmus manages to retain our attention throughout, both due to his keen compositional focus on rhythm, on variation and on details, and on the apparent imperfections they present, and because of the sheer strength of his musical ideas.
The music finds its inspiration in glitch idm, contemporary jazz and post millennium electronica. But while giving a nostalgic nod to the past, Hydra is first of all a gratifying musical offering that imparts the listener with a very rich and truly modern musical vision.
Special thanks are due to Christian Persson Balvig, Hanne Marie Le Fevre, Asger Sloth Sørensen and Jakob De Place Jørgensen.
Following a brief review about Danish producer Lars Graugaard, another release from that musically interesting region that has recently landed on clang’s catalogue is the one by Rasmus Fisker aka Sykofant. The music by this guy, who in spite of his young age already has received grants by The Danish Arts Foundation, gives “a nostalgic nod to the past”, according to the introduction by the young label under the wise managing of Kaylee Wesley Pearson. And listeners can easily notice some similarities with the sound of electronica types around downbeat, dub and glitch-idm coming from labels like City Centre Offices, Nonplace, Plug Research, Wichita, Obliq, Hydrogen Dukebox, WMF or Wichita at the dawn of the third millenium (you could check some stuff from Dntel, Static, Multicast, Metamatics, Nikakoi and so on). The vaguely “wrinkled” nuance of some sonic clues such as the harpsichord on the beginning of Hemis or the piano melody over the noise of rustling film on Interlude also points to this, but Rasmus manages to avoid a repeating gradient by using detailed layers and a constant change of a sonic palette that sound close to the notorious glitch aesthetics that preserves supposed mistakes or imperfections and use as a key elements of a composition. This is the main hook that makes the listening experience really immersive along the ten tracks of “Hydra” – immersion is the guide and the keyword that inspired the eight compositions and the two improvisations of the album – and which is very enjoyable for listeners looking for enthralling rhythmical patterns and sonic layers that sound rich in variations and details.
Rasmus Fisker, a Danish musician also known as Sykofant, presents his debut album, a living breathing organism of great refinement and elegance. His music has elements that evoke countless artists from a broad spectrum of music, yet create a singular identity. He unlocks musical images that are both familiar and new, and places each musical moment in the best possible sequence.
“Hydra” is a glitch-laden, wide-arcing and spacious album, yet remains intimate… almost so intimate it becomes claustrophobic, in fact. What initially feels as though it is a scanning of the cosmos on a cold night soon becomes a glimmer of light leaking through a closet door.
There is a great deal of depth to be found here, each track, from the shortest (“Interlude” – just under 1 minute) to the longest (Slices and Hemis, each weighing in at 4:09) carrying a narrative, where microscopic breaks signal changes both deft and gradual, subtle and pronounced.
However, each narrative is part of a grand narrative, that of the album “Hydra”. Slices brings us into the grand narrative of the album, and acts like a full introduction for everything that is to come, a kind of independent overture where only stylistic elements are referenced. “Interlude” brings a hint of hard-boiled detective ambience, a brief moment of silhouette of fedora hat seen through frosted glass. Hemis exemplifies the kind of multichannel approach of Fisker’s work, the up-close and personal percussive glitching in tandem with lush dreamy chords on piano, interspersed with unexpected moments of synthetic oddity or foley artist artisanship.
Hydra, the title track, is charged with narrative energy, with broad and bold strokes. In the sequencing of the tracks, it offers the feeling that we have entered a second act. Its musicality doesn’t unfold immediately, instead flexing and gesturing in its general direction, allowing whispers of it to come through. When it fully opens, the effect is breath-taking, and all-too brief. This is a quality present throughout the album: nothing overstays its welcome. Enter feels as though it is the most “conventional” piece, yet achieves this amid shifts and blurs, whirrs and stutters, as though it was originally a much longer piece that has been pared down to the slivers that most interested Fisker, and then recompressed into a new form. It projects an unexpected beauty. Sleep Patterns follows a similar feeling, yet has a completely different style, much more jittery. It feels a little bit cooler, more self-assured. Crest happily weaves its course, interspersed with little asides that are like sub-stories, or momentary takeovers of the main narrative by footnotes. There is a childlike quality, but not a childish one.
Offline is like a postmodernist Gnossienne, as though the circuits have been possessed by the ghost of Erik Satie. The piano has that Satie-like pedestrian plod, evoking city streets at evening, while there is a percussive shuffle that hurtles along, like a time-lapsed view of the same city by night. If I was inclined to pick a stand-out track, this would probably be the one. It also seems to be the opener for a third act in the album narrative. Glowbird carries a feeling of hazy sunlight, but switches mood with the arrival of a jazzy trombone solo, and again with a warped chiming beat, later overlaid with a brief trumpet solo. The trombone continues to weave in and out. Minim brings the album to a close with a stumbling piano line meandering through various percussive chatters and whorls, sparse and skeletal, plinking, hesitant.
After all this descriptive meta-narrative and analogizing and circumlocution that is the stock fallback for those of us inclined to write about music, I can only say that words certainly fall short of the actual mark this album makes. It is a remarkably wonderful thing, a beautiful thing, a precious thing. I don’t like to make proclamations, but in this line of work it is expected (to a degree), and therefore I make this one: definitely in my top 5 albums of 2014.
Danish and very young, Rasmus Fisker tries to make his way in the crowded world of the IDM with a debut album that immediately stands out. Its electronics are soft and at the same time lively, seemingly remembering the golden age of Morr Music and particularly the disc of the compatriot Manual. Hydra showcases ten tracks that move between slow, synthetic ballads lined with tender silicon (Slices, Offline) and timid improvisations that displays Fisker’s still immature but very promising talent (Interlude, Glowbird). Not everything shines with the same intensity on Hydra but its author is undoubtedly a name TO FOLLOW. Roberto Mandolins
Quite different and very relaxed is the Danish sound-maker Rasmus Fisker on “Hydra”. The accompanying press release wants to present his work as “post-millenium electronica” which perhaps is due to the many musical ideas that Fisker imbues into the spherical, slow-motion electro-pop. At times the piano sounds solemn, sometimes it hums as a beehive, sometimes rattles like a metallurgical soundscape in a cheerful blur. But what characterises “Hydra” is the warm, soft sound that lies over all his experimental gimmicks. We hear a kind of David Hamilton of experimental electro-pop.
A promising debut from Danish Rasmus Fisker who on “Hydra” shows good ability to synthesize, as only two songs are over four minutes long: the unmistakably nostalgic Slices and the glitchy Hemis. But twilight tones play along with elusive versatility such as in the uncertainties of Hydra with its trips and false start, Enter with its reduced reliance on minimal though not without ambition, Crest as the abandonment of instant radiance, Offline where the passive Satie meets suggestive techno-like acceleration, the nightly jazz on Glowbird and the hesitantly abstract Minim. (7) P. Bertoni
A warm bath of recognition. You have been here before. Even though you know it cannot be, you do know it right away. A corner and then … No, maybe not. Hmmm?! The ambience of young Dane Rasmus Fisker is of the bubbling and jazzy IDM kind, cuddling up with Boards of Canada. And with a pinch of Satie here and there, you sit on the lap of Aphex Twin at the time of Drukqs.
At first hearing you do not have the feeling that Fisker’s Hydra is a monster of originality. Not that it necessarily should be so, that is since long an overvalued quality. Anyway, Fisker has a sure hand and puts his signature on a work that, despite all the déjà vu, does not set a foot wrong. Star Gazing proceeds with ominous charge; the old and known is upset by the new. Fisker is not the big catch, but delves into the microscopic and magnifies the smallest of details. Therein lies elegance; and also subtlety.
An atmosphere is incurred, in the fashion of a detective’s work; is it really true or are you following a wrong clue? No, it will not stick together? Or, wait…! Hmmm… Ah, an opening. Well, not this. At same time three, four, five possible solutions present themselves. A bit casual, as the undertakings run along a thread towards a possible climax.
The Dane offers an ambient world that looks like frost on the window. Melts and freezes again. The view is obstructed. A little foggy, but still a bit of light passes through. Surprisingly, this does not give you the feeling that you are watching grass grow. What Fisker does is exciting. Not spine-chilling, but graceful as an ingenious plot well put together and that keeps astonishing you.
Hydra is the debut album of the young Danish experimental producer Rasmus Fisker (aka Sykofant), an experimental music full of organic textures and environmental details assembled in diverse narrative forms.
Rasmus impatiently explores the music and finds his inspirations in many places ranging from the classical to the contemporary and futuristic, constantly expanding his library of samples and sounds without limiting it to electronic patterns, that invite the listener to do a deep and atmospheric sonic immersion.
Hydra is composed of ten tracks that are all of short duration and rich with constantly changing compositional details and variations that even includes rhythmic imperfections.
The music is inspired by IDM, glitch pop, jazz and a futuristic ambient music but constantly takes a nostalgic look back the past, even though each track makes use of the most recent tools for intimate, electronic music.
Rasmus has worked in modern dance, film, theatre, media arts and sound installations and he uses this experience to develop a compositional narrative that at times is more linear (Slices and Interlude), at times with a multi-dimensional approach (Hemis).
The title track Hydra is full of bold details, positive energy and great musicality such as in Enter, Sleep Patterns and Crest – the latter seemingly interrupting the consistency of the EP a bit – touching upon a poignantly jazzy tone and chiming percussion (Offline and Glowbird) before arriving at the end with the barren Minim that strips the sound completely down, leaving us with a single, spiralling piano line.
Danish composer Rasmus Fisker serves a nicely composed dish of idm electronica, melancholy and nostalgia thoughtfully bent towards ambient. Through diversity and great production it feels like he has a fresh outlook of present-day electronica, idm, bits of glitchy clicks n’ cuts and jazz. Obviously it might easily be a clichéd area but skilfully and gracefully as he does it – nothing goes astray – Rasmus keeps everything within one outlook and nothing strays out of his focus. Smooth and with a slight touch of arty suspense he delves through different layers of what might become a repetitive lesson. Moves on to acoustic piano bits – both playing on the keys and insides – blends it with acousmatic glitches and falls into some jazzy climaxes. And there is more – listen to it…
Fifteen years ago this record would most likely have been published by Warp Records or Raster-Noton, in the vicinity of Plaid, Autechre and Alva Noto. Today, as the music of the nineties emanates from the album, Rasmus Fisker fits seamlessly into the retrospective scene. But the young man is, unlike some of his colleagues, fortunately not satisfied with pure imitation as he irreverently applies concepts of glitch and IDM to his material.
A native of the Danish city of Aarhus and before appearing under the name Sykofant, Fisker presents a remarkably sophisticated work that convinces especially by its delicate, playful details and designs that give each of the ten pieces its own identity. Glowbird weaves nimbly between jazzy brass and intricate rhythm structures. By contrast, Offline and Minim rely on contrasting co-existence of impressionistic piano and organic electronics, the former piece both edgy and warm, the latter suspended in sparse darkness. The surprising, dub-influenced passages in the Autechre-esque Sleep Patterns is beautiful as in the wonderful Crest. Fisker wins you over with a wealth of ideas and strengths in these mostly short electronic tracks. (ijb)
Just released on 24th of November via Clang is “Hydra”, the debut album of the Denmark-rooted artist / producer Rasmus Fisker and a ten track LP pleasing those being into – slighty organic – Ambient structures, deep listening electronics and Clicks’n’Cuts based aesthetics alike. From the deep, introvert, pure and jazz-infused ambient piano Interlude to the Clicks’n’Cuts schooled Hemis that feature dulcimer(?) and partially distorted Indie-tronics and via the album title track that fuses calm, foggy and slowly floating structures with quirky, hyper-digital distortions that heavily disrupt the gentle flow, the musical journey goes on. It passes through the fragile, crystalline shoe-gazing drones on top of dubby, digital structures in Enter and the contemplative yet buzzing contrasts found in the nice and classy electronica track Sleep Patterns that is our personal favourite.
Based on the impression of these few tracks alone and when followed by more on a similar level, one can easily tell that Rasmus Fisker is a producers to watch out for if one is missing the timeless, tender yet experimental approach that seemed to be common in the Electronica scene of the late 90s and early 00’s, but for some reason faded whilst making way for what is now called Beatmaker or GlitchHop music. We like.
Musik an Sich
Rasmus Fisker is a Danish electronic musician who has made music for exhibitions and film. With Hydra the young musicians now brings his first album on the market.
He moves between sound art, electronic experiments and electronic, ambient music. According to the press sheet the album consists of eight compositions and two improvisations. The pieces are mostly quiet ambient over sampled noises and voices with echoing piano melodies or other synthetic instrumentation joining in. Rasmus Fisker’s sound is aligned with the likes of David Sylvian and Co., the difference being that Fisker has a clear interest in modern beats. Many tracks have modern electronica and drum & bass, but also Radiohead inspired beats are deployed in quite appealing climaxes, making this rather short album very accessible.
His use of the above together with solid jazz piano and keyboard and even trumpet sounds, gives the overall sound picture a very interesting touch. Glowbird, for example, contains these wonderful trumpet sounds over a psychedelic and floating yet tightly woven sound carpet of electronics, allowing Radiohead / Björk reminiscent electronic rhythms to swell and ebb. A fantastic little piece that brings the album to the crux in just 3:46 minutes. And the closing Minimim shows a rock-like barrenness subsequent to the experimental side. A strong debut and a convincing entry into the world of electronic avant-garde.
The Dane (Aarhus) Rasmus Fisker debuts with ‘Hydra’, which contains ten relatively short pieces of electronic music. Eight composed and two improvised songs that sound very simple at first hearing. But that is a false conclusion because Rasmus clearly has his own voice which you notice in the detailed proceedings in the sounds, additions, sense of melody and rhythm. Danceable it isn’t, for it fidgets and fiddles and Fisker move around too much. He loves to catch us on the wrong foot, taking us on a moody and difficult journey, one that we initially had underestimated due to the apparent simplicity. Previously under the moniker Sycophant, Rasmus had already composed many pieces for film, theatre, dance and sound installations. His craving for finesse, his inquisitive mind and odd angles make this record a very successful introduction to the diversity of his work.