Hrvatski – Swarm & Dither

(Planet Mu ZIQ-026CD)

Author: Jyoti Mishra <>
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 03:59:38 BST

Got this today and it’s ACE!

It’s a collection of fourteen of Hrvatski’s tracks going from 1994 up to 2002. The style is very glitchy and groinky but it’s not as cerebral as I find a lot of <cough> IDM to be.

‘Vatstep dsp’ kicks it off and what a great start. After some 35 seconds of drilling-through-breezeblocks noise, the beat kicks in and we have that now famous singer Mr. Crooning Macintosh, as previously heard on Cylob’s ‘Rewind’ (although that was recorded after this ’99 track, I think). There’s mad breakbeats, obligatory Metasynthing but the genius touch is the cat miaowing. Class!

The cover of ‘Paint It Black’ perhaps stretches the definition of ‘cover’ but behind the doleful twanging, you can make out someone singing it so I guess it passes. Sounds like a solo Thurston Moore piece, but less jazz-funk.

‘2nd Zero Fidelity Mandible Investigation’ is a slippery bugger. Starts of with some very Pink Floydy piano chords and then goes mental breakbeat before a tasty whistling solo! Yes – there should be MORE whistle solos in serious blokes-with-laptops electronic music. But then Hrvatski gets bored again and bungs on some even stupider breakbeats that make most gabba sound sedate. It ends rather sedately.

That’s the thing about this album – you can’t skip through it or you’ll miss some lovely pearls of sound. I’ve listened to it about three times all the way through and there’s new little bits I hear every time.

Another top tune is ‘Marbles’ which sounds to me like it was nicked off the seminal ‘Marble Madness’ but is apparently, according to the liner notes, nicked off a Gameboy game. It’s very funky and I guess, next to ‘Vatstep’ the track I’d most play when DJing. It’s got that lovely, grungy cheap synthchip sound to it. And a kicking beat. Mmmm…

‘Echoes’ sounds very much like what it is: a piece of academic electroacoustic music. It’s basically piano(s) recorded and echoed, the echoes making up quite complex rhythms. Quite compelling, in a ball-bearing-falling-into-some-eggcups kind of way.

Now ‘Ewc4’ is a different beastie altogether. Starts off with sampled chugging metal guitar before several different breaks come in, at half, normal, double and quadruple tempos. Then they fade and what’s left is some Satie-esque electric piano chords.

‘Gemini’ sort of carries that on. It’s a sweet piece, chiming, pentatonic melodies that are a bit folksy/Boards of Canada-y which get chopped-up into little trills and stutters.

‘Carrot’ opens with an acoustic guitar riff and again, it’s a simple, plainly beautiful song. The melody is carried on by electric piano again before some beats skitter in… just when you think it’s fading, it goes a bit cyberdub. Then filtercyberdub before closing with the riff that opened. Nice.

The album closer is ‘Tegenborg’ and according to the liner notes, it’s based on a track by a Swedish prog group called Trad Gras Och Stenar. This *may be* Hrvatksi taking the piss – I’m not up on prog enough to know. Whatever, it’s a rocking track which to my ears sounds like J.Mascis pissing round with Squarepusher on drums. If you like feedback, you’re gonna love the end of this…

Please check out samples of the tracks here and you’ll see I’m not demented and that it is great stuff.

My overall fave on the album is ‘Vatstep’ just cos it makes me smile and dance and feel very happy.

Buy this album if you like stuff like Kid 606, Wauvenfold, Boards Of Canada, Funkstorung or Jake Mandell. Don’t buy it if you think it’s a crime for electronic music to have a sense of humour,
love and kisses,