Phonem Ilisu

Phonem play IDM in the vein of Autechre but more melody-oriented and fun. Listening to Ilisu after having heard the collaboration with Arovane, it's obvious where the muscle and sheer energy of the two comes from. The breaks and sounds on this recording are a bit on the hard side but structured with as much complexity and detail as the inner workings of a Swiss watch. Phonem has dedicated this album to spreading awareness on the Ilisu hydro power station being built in Turkey, somewhere in the Hasenkeyf region, which would displace many Kurdish settlements and cause a refugee crisis. On the closing track, "Thirst," there are even news clips about the lack of government and public initiatives to use more environmentally friendly alternative power sources, implying that the Ilisu crisis can be avoided. Despite the serious themes expressed in the liner notes and song titles, the music remains light-hearted and happy, albeit with the odd subtly melancholic overtone. Phonem is clearly a master IDM programmer, and even the most cursory listen will boggle the mind with its complexity. One of the best IDM releases to come out since the collaboration with Arovane, if not surpassing it. (Morr)