Modular Anxiety is a split LP comprised of 10 tracks that present an audacious pair of new faces in the land of ambient/drone synth music. One side belongs to Vienna based Dino Spiluttini, (past releases on Home Normal, Beatismurder), and the other to Nils Quak of Cologne (Nomadic Kids Republic, Sis Sic Tapes).
It could be argued that for each common trait that binds them, twice as many throw them apart. If the same words can be used to describe their respective contributions to Modular Anxiety (spatial, cathartic, acute, deep) one must also concede that they inhabit two distinct genres, even if both hum and drone in full measure, glitch at intervals, and appear to derive their sound from the same a warm analogue-digital palette.
But the differences in character cannot be ignored: Spiluttini’s work is relatively direct and specific, with soaring melodies, taut structures, high frequency grasslands, surprises and dramatically charged flourishes, while Quak’s – written entirely on a modular synthesizer – sounds somehow more obscure. It progresses with a slower sense of time, cooler colors, bubbling textures, piercing notes, a mood of brooding mystery and menace, atonal melodies and phrasings…
So, the question arises: why should such contrasting visions work so well together? Both sides are “synthetic music” that sometimes evokes distorted environments and landscapes, but that hardly accounts for the odd tonal unity and continuity that binds the two sides of Modular Anxiety. Each is equally friendly to the ear and satisfying in its own way. When considered together, they share a tacit agreement, a subtle and eerie intuition that goes back and forth between them.