Electric Treatment Free, the experimental electronic solo project of Ottawa musician/producer Mark Uygur, does not suffer fools lightly. The odds are good that most people will be off-put by his brand of musique concrète and knotty guitar etudes. For others, it might provoke admiration rather than scorn.
Admittedly, this self-titled EP isn’t traditionally paced or melodic either. Rather, it’s much more engrossed in playing with unique and rewarding ideas. Take for instance “Study 4“, which opens things on a gradual ascension of electro pulses and plunking piano keys only to dissolve into the ether.
It’s an appetizer of things to come before its full-course noise experimentation is served. Making up those ingredients of Mark Uygur’s sound smorgasbord, dense and engulfing atmospheres are simultaneously peppered with hypnotic, buzzing guitar riffs – as on the modulated “Maths (Conlon Guitars)”.
Mentioned in reviews elsewhere, the layered, frantic vignettes on Electric Treatment Free echo the work of Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. Strangely, there’s more than a hint of 1980’s hit makers OMD included, too. In particular, their 1983 album Dazzle Ships, which incorporated passages of avant-garde mechanical grindings and air-wave static (which was met with a good share of its own divisive fanfare).
Because the EP focuses as much on texture as it does mystery, its pleasures aren’t always evident on first listen. Unnerving radio frequencies and vocal samples on “Andrei’s Bright Day” feel too short to provide any real substance, instead acting more as a bridge between tracks.
As such, the fluctuating flow on Electric Treatment Free will be jarring to most listeners. Then again, this material isn’t for most listeners anyways. When Uygur described this project as being written by a human and performed by a computer, he wasn’t joking.
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