Published Feb 24, 2016Cerca Trova, the first full-length in a decade from French-born, Switzerland-based producer Lee Van Dowski, is a highly satisfying album that will especially please those with a soft spot for '90s Warp artists. Released on the Berlin-based Mobilee, it follows up the flurry of smaller buzz-worthy releases by Dowski in 2015, and effectively sets the tone for contemporary IDM in the new year.
Much of its strength lies in Dowski's ability to reference his influences without appearing beholden to them. Opening track "Creating Me," for instance, sounds immediately like LP5-era Autechre. Soon after, the loping rhythm of "Awaken" recalls early Boards of Canada, while the majestic strings of "1+1" make one think wistfully of RDJ-era Aphex Twin. Many of these artists moved on from the sounds and styles they were using on these formative albums of theirs; Dowski collects the threads and weaves them into his own sound, with often accessible results.
Indeed, despite its sometimes aggressive percussion, Cerca Trova is consistently melodic. Late album highlight "Dans Tes Yeux" is almost commercial even, borrowing a more EDM-style approach for its structure and pacing. There is a pop album lurking within Cerca Trova somewhere, and tracing its latent contours is highly satisfying. It's a rewarding listen, one that challenges just enough to satisfy. (Mobilee)