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Atom / Document

Robert Henke

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Album Review

Is it because it stemmed from a simple yet very elegant project that Atom/Document ends up being one of Robert Henke's most elegant records? Atom is a collaborative performance by Henke and visual artist Christopher Bauder, where a matrix of 64 helium-filled balloons is controlled by both: Bauder triggers elevation patterns, while Henke produces music that triggers 64 LEDs, one inside each balloon. Put together after a string of performances of Atom in 2007, Atom/Document represents one possible realization of the project's music, extensively reworked by the sound artist in the studio. If Henke took a step away from the performance itself to come up with more thoroughly composed versions of the live material, he seems to have retained the aerial aspect of the project. More ambient than his average production, Atom/Document relies more on texture than beat. And when the beat creeps in (increasingly so in the second half of the album), it literally lights up the music — you can picture the balloons pulsating along. Henke is capable of great finesse, something that occasionally gets blanketed in his work as Monolake. Here, his ear runs deep, layering lush abstract atmospheres ("[_flicker]") and delicate minimal techno ("[crossing]"). The digipack presents a number of pictures from the live work, but actual bonus video footage would have been a plus. That said, Atom/Document stands very well as a sound-only work. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s

Producer Robert Henke is better known as one-half of Monolake, the popular minimal techno group associated with Berlin's Chain Reaction label. While that project has brought Henke more notoriety, his most evolved and studied work to date has appeared eponymously, on his own Imbalance Computer Music label. Forsaking, for the most part, the rhythmic pulse of Monolake, solo releases such as Piercing Music and Floating.Point have focused on the expressive capacity of wholly digitally produced sonic environments,...
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Atom / Document, Robert Henke
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