- Killer computer music for the club.
- During his Boiler Room set last year, Rian Treanor played material from his debut album, ATAXIA. The producer makes club-focused computer music that is "intended to make people's bodies move in unpredictable ways." (The album's title also refers to a neurological condition that impairs muscle control.) But from the looks it, Treanor's high BPMs and destabilizing pattern shifts—coupled with a camera crew—left the dance floor mostly stiff. A few dancers tried to tackle his sonic puzzles, but head nods seemed a better fit. In the head, though, is where the producer's music takes off.
Treanor uses club music styles as the launch point for advanced rhythmic constructions. If his sound is hard to pin down, it might be because he works at the intersection of disciplines. Though he's immersed in the worlds of producing and programming, Treanor considers himself a visual artist first, which is why he's taken to making music using Max/MSP, a programming language with a graphical interface. Starting with "a sequence where you can draw in a beat," Treanor designs geometric systems of rhythms, whose complex nature seem best described in visual terms: angular, asymmetric, tessellating.
Programmatic as it is, ATAXIA has style and personality. The album's opener, centered on deadpan recitals of basic human functions (sex, excrement, boredom), seems to poke fun at the potential dryness of computerized music. "ATAXIA_B2" sounds warm, brought to life by a Lollywood vocal sample, which Treanor splices into addictive percussive parts. It also channels a bit of Errorsmith's most recent LP. The syncopated rhythm has a sense of silliness to it, while the sharp sound design belongs to the avant-garde. Still, it could make a dance floor go off. "ATAXIA_D3," the other standout vocal track, is dreamier and more stripped-back, with gleaming chords and a soulful vocal phrase that transmutes into hypnotic loops.
The rest of ATAXIA is stricter and more complex. Each track feels like a matrix of rhythm, built from syncopated notes and irregular patterns, which compound or subtract in unpredictable ways. Trying to understand the logic of each sequence can be difficult, but together these tracks somehow form a fluid whole. Treanor gets a lot of variety out of his method. "ATAXIA_B1" is intense and ravey. "ATAXIA_C2," by contrast, drops into a lopsided groove with a cryptic mood. On "ATAXIA_D1," the lead synth moves across the track with the spontaneity of someone scribbling with a pen. This is Treanor's gift: making systematic functions feel strikingly freeform.