Vanilla Call Option, PAN Records debut of Jeff Wischer, aka Rene Hell, doesn’t really have any beats. Aside from a few arpeggio-like constructions, it doesn’t have any melodies either, though the general absence thereof may persuade your ear to register certain passages that way, like the rapid-fire repetition of a single, faux-vocal note, on “var_len.” For the most part, in fact, the sounds that appear on this album aren’t all that far off from the ones that I heard this morning when I woke up to the grating, irregular grind of construction going on outside my window: textural and timbral, aleatoric and episodic. What sets them apart is that Vanilla Call Option is presenting these sounds to me as art, and also that the sounds themselves sound like they’re hanging in a vacuum-like void, and more like crystal clear, digital simulacra of the sounds you might encounter in real life. I’m sure there are a hundred possible historical precedents for what the Southern California composer is doing (the press release mentions the music concrete of Bernard Parmegiani, and I can hear the Autechre and Oval of my high school days as well), but compared to the more tonal, drone-y, vintage synth based work he was making before, and as an album that came out in 2013, it really sounds like a radical departure into the musical unknown, and I’ve come to like that unknowing feeling as a listener. Stream the album in full right here, and grab a copy now via PAN.
Stream: Rene Hell, Vanilla Call Option