- The Colundi Sequence is about more than just music. As Aleksi Perälä explained to me last year, it's part of a philosophy that encompasses all world religions. Once you've got your head around that, the sheer volume of music can make it difficult to get started. Since 2014, Perälä has been churning out Colundi releases with a convert's zeal. Most of the project's 16 "levels" (and counting) are album-length, and a recent ambient LP, Connections, also appears to use the non-standard Colundi scale, devised (or divined) by Rephlex's Grant Wilson-Claridge.
All of which only makes this compilation on Clone Basement Series more welcome, though at 86 minutes, it's still a lot to take in (and this is only Volume 1 of a larger series). There's little method to its tracklist: the three discs cherry-pick from across the Sequence, skipping a few levels and including a track from another release, 2014's Ovuca Bonus. But the results capture the disorientating effect of an afternoon spent drifting through Perälä's Bandcamp, and make for a solid primer to one of the most compelling musical projects of recent years.
The sounds will be familiar to anyone who's dabbled in the Sequence: the uncanny microtonal melodies rendered in clear synth tones, the delicate drums that phase elegantly across the headphone space. It's music caught between the cute melodicism of Perälä's IDM past and something darker and harder to place. If there's a stylistic bias then it's towards techno, as befits a release on Clone Basement Series. Much of the compilation consists of sparse, hypnotic four-four burners; a good thing, since these are Sequence's best moments.
Some tracks, like "UK74R1510069" or the spaced-out "UK74R1409097," would work excellently as breathers in a dance floor set. Elsewhere, the energy picks up: "UK74R1406090" and "UK74R1515150" sound like they're made out of bouncy balls and stretched rubber. Serving as counterweight are tracks closer to Perälä's past, where the Colundi scale is twisted into more tuneful shapes and the drums hint at broken-beat or electro. Sometimes the change of tone is welcome, as with the roomier percussion of "UK74R1517030." But often these tracks feel a bit clumsy compared to their techno cousins. "UK74R1516160," which closes the compilation, is almost clownish.
Perälä does best when he heads in the other direction, exploring a bleepy minimalism that would make Sleeparchive jealous. Tucked in the middle of the compilation, "GBBVT1337152" and "GBBVT1337062" weave sine-tone arps into trippy mosaics over ultra-crisp kicks. Later, "Hydrophobic_Effect" is dread-laden electro stripped back to the circuitry. Perälä told me that when he discovered the Colundi scale he decided, "Enough of Aleksi Perälä. It's all about Colundi." These tracks come closest to jettisoning his musical personality entirely, leaving the mysterious Colundi to operate the machines.