- It seems poignant or desperate to cling to the arch-symbol of glitch in a moment of rebirth. But that's exactly what Marcus Gabler has done with his resurrection of Mille Plateaux by releasing Clicks & Cuts 5.0 - Paradigm Shift. The first three volumes of the celebrated series arrived at a moment when glitch—when digitalism and information—had usurped their controllers and delivered the promise of new forms.
Times have changed: Paradigm Shift, as its title implies, breaks the mould of previous editions. MP founder Achim Szepanski is no longer involved with the label. And instead of pursuing a discrete idea, this compilation acts more like a direct commercial interface with the imprint. Kabutogani's "CXEMA" is a frigid and bristling data workout that leads straight to his album, whereas the inclusion of the "video edit" of Ametsub's post-rock sounding "Repeatedly" says it all.
But it's the trimming of most tracks to near four minutes to either fit more in or sucker you in to chasing down the full-length that leaves the ugliest taste. At worst, it trivialises past and present by commercialising it. At best, it doesn't suggest much confidence in the music. Paradigm Shift is not an outright failure musically. The phasing melodies that close Ametsub's aforementioned track entice, whereas the low-end beat ambience of both Nicolaus and Aoki Takamasa's tracks, as well as Marrow's "e.coli," with its Sakamoto/Alva Noto-esque tones, are throwbacks, but worthy of the Mille Plateaux name. Some experimental tracks like Yu Miyashita's forceful maelstrom and Klive's abrasive dreamscape sound as if they're pushing things forward.
Others, like the Rephlex-esque IDM of both Manathol and lodsb, or Wyatt Keusch's scatter sample collage "Object 02" all seem cleverly made, but are uninspiring. Several tracks have their moments, but stagnate too easily. Even at four minutes, Loom's "Isolex 03" seems to repeat its drum fill too many times while the one minute trace of Alinoe's "Il (Outro)" is conspicuous filler. Closing the set with a track as unashamedly radio-friendly and downright "nice" as Rimacona's vocal-driven "Message" will certainly raise some eyebrows as well.
Rimacona, in a way, sums up the whole (mis)adventure of Paradigm Shift. Uneven terrain one can cross, but not so easily when fumbling for direction. The compilation runs mighty close to performing a disservice to the artists involved and the legacy of Mille Plateaux. Paradigm Shift shows there is still a heartbeat, but that it's perhaps a fading one. Maybe that's a good thing, but judging from the music on offer, only time will reveal what "the shift" is. (Gabler isn't interested in spoiling the surprise, and their little-functioning website (at the moment) doesn't help much either.) The same goes for whether Gabler's decision to use the fondly remembered label's name was a good one.
01. Scattertape - Shelving A Tempered String (Intro)
02. Aoki Takamasa - RN4-09 (Short Version)
03. Wyatt Keusch - Object 02 (C&C Cut)
04. Loom - Isolex 03
05. Ametsub - Repeatedly (Video Edit)
06. Kiyo - Bear In. Warm-Noiz (C&C Fade)
07. Marow - e.coli
08. Manathol - BAKETO (C&C Cut)
09. Kabutogani - CXEMA
10. Nicolaus - Inner (C&C Fade)
11. Sifa Dias - Eitec Aa (C&C Fade)
12. Klive - Sweaty Psalms
13. Gultskra & Artikler - w
14. Yu Miyashita - Scrypt
15. Alinoe - Il (Outro)
16. Lodsb - Eve (CD Only Evac Track)
17. Rimacona - Message (CD Only Evac Track)