I8U B

Montreal-based I8U's second release marks a departure from her purely noise textured debut album. This time around, her music focuses on the development on rhythmic electronic structures. On B, I8U touches a variety of electronic styles, including atmospheric industrial, brooding dark techno and more textured noise, yet is not rendered as harshly as her earlier work. Some of the more splendid works are "Sortie," with its steady, tense build-up that emulates a cyborg pulse, and "Senescence," a menacing robotic gladiator of a track with its strutting reverberating rhythms. I8U developed these sounds as free from contemporary influence as possible, which explains the aloof feel of these pieces, not to say that she cannot hold her own against them and perhaps even frighten them off. Indeed, I8U has evolved from the primordial vacuum of pure noise and the sonic forms of B are quite the departure, creating one of the rawest yet satisfying aggressively moody electronic albums this year. (Baked Records)