- Aleksi Perälä's application of Colundi tuning has been a minor revelation in electronic music. The crystalline sound he summons up has an effect similar to that of a gamelan ensemble, or of wind chimes in the breeze: something innately pure yet uncanny. There is a chasm of distance between each element in his best songs, allowing the ear to focus on gorgeous microtonal melodies, even when Perälä is weaving them over basslines and kicks that might otherwise obscure them.
Perälä has released hundreds of Colundi-tuned tracks in just a handful of years. As he made clear to Angus Finlayson in 2015, he's enthralled by the system's possibilities. The results have breathed life into any mix they've slotted into: Special Request opened his Fabriclive mix with one, and Objekt found room for two in 2016's standout Kern CD. Even with similar titles, there's no way "UK74R1514300" could be mistaken for "UK74R1620090."
Simulation, however, is not one of Perälä's strongest. It continues his run of releases on Clone Basement Series—which last year rounded up some of the Finnish artist's prolific Bandcamp output on Colundi Sequence Vol. 1—but falls short of both that compilation and the high standard Perälä has set for himself. Given that Simulation largely continues what Perälä has become known for in his Colundi phase—great plumes of arpeggios rippling across the surface of consistent techno—it's hard to put a finger on why this album doesn't captivate in the same way. The pristine qualities of his sound remain, but are presented in a way that doesn't elevate them, and burdened with elements that seem superfluous.
"NLL561606936" is a good example of what feels lacking. On top of Perälä's usual blippy template, a darker synth rises through the track, but only stays for a brief moment, seeming strangely bolted on. Later, as a beautiful chiming pattern rises to the top, it suggests a new and purposeful development is taking place. But the pattern just shimmers awhile, and then the track fades. Simulation's tracks often hint towards what could be without ever reaching a satisfying conclusion. It's as if dawn is continually on the verge of breaking, but something obstructs the view.