REVIEWS – Totakeke: eLekatota – The Other Side Of The Tracks

Connexion Bizarre –

Frank Mokros is perhaps better known in Rhythmic Noise and Industrial music circles for his releases as Synth-Etik. Perhaps less-known is his Totakeke persona, under whose name an EP and a full-length were released years ago on the now seemingly defunct Frozen Empire Media record label, both of which received rather positive critical attention.
“eLekatota” is an excellent and very interesting show of talent and accomplished musicianship, expertly incorporating elements from a wide spectrum of electronic music genres from rather obvious IDM up to more dance-oriented music. Upon listening to it, one is certainly bound to appreciate the seamless aural journey that Frank Mokros constructed, a journey full of rich detail and subtle nuances which reveal themselves progressively with each listening session. Despite an intentional chaotic beginning with the first couple of tracks, “eLekatota” quickly progresses to more accessible and pleasant soundscapes where complex rhythms, melodic arrangements and minute sampling are skilfully layered coalesce into a string of constantly evolving cinematic compositions. There is a sense that nothing here was left to chance and that despite the electronic nature of the music, cold and seemingly chaotic at times – as befits what is frequently referred as Intelligent Dance Music – Totakeke’s compositions feel rather human and have a definite warmth to them, a warmth and constancy that is in stark contrast with the seeming random rhythmic patterns of some compositions. While individual tracks are memorable on their own – some standing out depending on the listener’s inclinations – this album is best appreciated as a whole entity, with uninterrupted attention from beginning to end. Interestingly, “eLekatota” also appears to come full circle on itself.
Extremely cinematic, “eLekatota” is one of those albums that demands (and deserves) the listener’s undivided time and attention to be fully appreciated. It is certainly an excellent listening choice for those occasions in which one finds time to not do anything else but sit down, relax, appreciate a very good record (and perhaps a good wine too) and forget about life’s worries. — Miguel de Sousa [8.5/10]

Side-Line Magazine –

The 2nd album of Frank Mokros (Synth-Etik) under the Totakeke-moniker is an absolute, fabulous production! This artist here realizes a real masterpiece in progressive industrial music. Totakeke goes much further than simply industrial music, but assembled a multitude of ideas resulting in a fascinating and brilliant entity. “Elekatota” sounds very electronic minded, but with a wide spectrum of electronic input. There’s a sort of symbiosis between dark ambient electro constructions, industrial atmospheres, a few trance vibes and minimal techno elements. On top you’ll find some cool spoken samplings. The sound and arrangements are quite complex, but remains compact. It all sounds like F. Mokros didn’t spare any effort in the sound research while he also took care for an impressive final production in sound. “Elekatota” features 13 tracks, but it will take me too long to mention all the attention grabbers. The entire album is a class act. I’ll just mention a few ones starting with “Pull The Plug”, which is a pure sensation in electronic sound sculptures and samplings. A next great piece is the more minimal-techno-ish “Millenia”. It’s a complex song with some techno arrangements on top, but built on a solid basis of dark atmospheres, decomposed sounds and cool samplings. On “Strangle” the composer shows ones more his genius in elaborated industrial music with attitude and an amazing production! A last cut I want to mention is “Elekatota Two” for its great sequences reminding to a kind of mix between Clock DVA and The Klinik. I personally prefer the sound of this project more than Synth-Etik and I’m convinced that this album has a real strong potential to become a reference in the current industrial scene! An impressive album!

SIDE-LINE Checkline reviews:5 editors have checked out the 3rd album by the rhythmic noise, industrial artist Totakeke. “Elekatota: The Other Side Of The Tracks”, released on the growing Tympanik Audio label obviously seems to have enchanted our editorial staff. Here is our verdicts:  

1. Totakeke’s blend of atmospheric EBM comes equipped with the essential post-industrial/dark electronic influences. Orchestral synths glide under busy non conventional beats. The tracks move, fade, reprise and work itself along in dramatic fashion. An unconventional genre, pushing forward electronics. This is 21st century stuff! (NOA:8)NOA 

2. The music (or rather soundtracks) featured on this album from Totakeke is a blend of different elements: there are some more ambient electronic stuff mixed with bleeping synths and break beats, multi-layered sequences and heavily processed samples and loops. You fell there is a lot of work under those long tracks some of them binging hypnotic and dark atmospheres (like on the spelling “Gift Of Nervous Methods”) others bringing more rhythmic stuff (with some noise as well here and there). If you like soundtracks and or cinematic kind of electronic (with rather complex programming and sound design) you can grab this one.(CF:7)CF. 

3. Written, recorded and produced between January 2005 – November 2007, Totakeke brings a very versatile mix of soundscapes, click and cut, ambient electronics and industrial. Not extraordinary you’d say, but the mix here is very much personal avoiding the clichés which are all too much there in the industrial scene. Let’s hope that besides Totakeke some more artists will see the light shining in order to update their approach of industrial sounds. A messiah for the industrial scene? Could be, we’ll see…(BVI:8)BVI.

4. Even if this project releases here his second album, it is the first time that I listen to this group from New York. Even if the press info proudly announced it, we don’t only find industrial music in this record but an innovative compilation of instrumental music: from ambient to idm with some injections of industrial and sometimes some noisy influences. I thus appreciated this will to play with genres while keeping a good coherence.(CX:7)CX. 

5. Frank Mokros (Synth-Etik) aka Totakeke is a genius musician who really reinvent electronic ambient music. The influences of Totakeke are moving from electro-ambient to industrial to some distant trance forms, but the way it has been worked out and composed is always progressive and innovative. The songs are well-crafted and elaborated while delivering certain complexity as well. Totakeke here delivers an album, which according to me sounds like a milestone in the underground scene! This is a production for all electro-ambient gourmets! (DP:9)DP.

Igloo Mag –
Elekatota is the sophomore album from Frank Mokros who is also known as the New York based producer who has made several releases on the highly regarded German industrial noise label Hands Productions under the name Synth-etik. As Totakeke however, Mokros takes his music in a different direction, merging a range of different electronic music genres to create a hybrid that still hints at his noisier industrial roots with Synth-etik. Elekatota is an interesting concept with conflicting personalities; on one hand it is smooth, warm and fluid yet on the other it is dark, brooding and probably a little disturbed. It is almost as though Mokros has decided to break away from the Synth-etik mindset but his industrial sensibilities don’t want to let him go that easily. It is like a battle between light and dark; as rich rhythms shuffle, pound and energetically jump around, lurking in the background are darker intentions in the form of crackling distortion, creepy samples and hard industrial rhythms. However, what could quite easily end up as a disjointed collision of mismatched styles actually results in something quite original; Makros has drawn from genres such as techno, industrial, noise and dark ambient to create a fairly well-balanced hybrid that, although it often falls more on the harder rhythmic side of things, actually takes in all the genres at different points throughout the album. “Millenia” for example is a driving industrial monster loaded with bassy beats that is followed by the steady rounded rhythms and dark disturbing ambience of “Gift of Nervous Methods” that in turn morphs into huge stabbing beats. “Strangle”, despite its title, lightens the mood somewhat with euphoric technoid rhythms that lead into the crazy experimental abstraction of “Fragile Thoughts”. In the space of just four tracks, Mokros has covered industrial, techno, dark ambient and experimental electronic genres, sometimes within the scope of a single track. Surprisingly though, the transitions appear quite natural, producing a widely varied and every changing sonic soundscape of moods, textures, rhythms and atmospheres. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the range of Elekatota is to compare two stylistically diverse tracks; “Carrier Signal” is a fairly subdued yet fidgety ambient techno track with underlying industrial themes and a hint of glitchy experimentation while “Show Me the Faith” is loaded with massive bassy breaks, deranged melodies and hi-tech bloops with a hint of distortion. Mokros produces an interesting album that takes in a diverse selection of genres and styles, often within short spaces of time. The constant switches in tempo, style and mood may be distracting to some but the concept and execution and still pretty well conceived. Tympanik Audio again produces an interesting album; after appearing apparently out of the blue this Chicago-based label is already gaining the attention of the media as their busy release schedule rolls on.

Re:Gen Magazine –
Continuing down the path set by his first album, Totakeke’s Frank Mokros yet again intrigues with a complex array of intricate beats and synthesized ambience.While it has been some time since Totakeke’s last album, the complex arrangement of intricate beat structures and ambient industrial atmospheres presented on eLekatota: The Other Side of the Tracks proves that Frank Mokros hasn’t fallen into the trap of stagnation. Granted, there’s not much deviation from what Mokros had achieved on his debut, At the Train Station on a Saturday Evening, but his formula presents an assorted enough mixture of sounds that it remains fresh in the mind of the listener as each track progresses. As the tracks on eLekatota all transition into each other rather smoothly, picking out individual pieces of music can be difficult, though it does display a sonic stream of consciousness with the right amount of musical peaks and valleys to keep it from sounding monotone. Several tracks do stand out though, such as “Millenia” with its subsonic bass pulses amid reverberating scrapes of metallic breakbeats. Some deceptively simple layers of synthesized arpeggios create eerie waves of audio tension as samples of Lance Henriksen from the debut episode of Chris Carter’s Millennium from the late ’90s add to the morose ambience. Also notable are the epic constructions of the almost 11-minute-long “Gift of Nervous Methods” in which manipulated voices sampled from various films – in lieu of lyrics – echo beneath the sonic surface to create a cavernous atmosphere as gyrating synth plucks and percussive layers that continuously hint at drum & bass, though without breaking into frenzy. Much of the album follows along these pathways, and while the tracks certainly don’t sound identical to each other in structure or melody, there is a thematic flow to the album that, though enticing and adding to Totakeke’s sense of consistency and complexity, also could impair one’s ability to listen to the record from beginning to end in one sitting. Still, eLekatota: The Other Side of the Tracks deserves much credit for its elaborate production and composition without being oppressively complex to the point that it becomes too daunting a task to listen. 3.5/5

Headphone Commute –

Tympanik Audio, a Chicago based label, catches me a bit off guard with their first 2008 release from a New York producer, Frank Mokros, aka Totakeke. A dark, yet in places soft and sad downtempo album of intelligent rhythmic industrial, that smoothly flows from one track to the next with gloomy ambient pads and percussive, minimal, arpeggio-heavy synth lines. Mokros has previously appeared on a 2001 split with Radial on Ad Noiseam under his Ativ moniker. He also dropped numerous releases as Synth-Etik pumping more rhythmic noise for the German based Hands Productions. His most recent contribution includes a track for Tympanik Audio’s first entry into the music biz with a well put together Emerging Organisms compilation, sprinkled with many great artists, like Architect, Hecq, Displacer, Ab Ovo and Phylum Sinter across two disks. For the likes of before mentioned artists (so grab the comp if you can). Favorite tracks: Carrier Signal, Gift Of Nervous Methods, and Fragile Thoughts.

Der Medienkonverter –

Totakeke ist das Alter Ego des New Yorkers Frank Mokros, der sich neben Ativ vor allem mit seinem Projekt Synth-Etik einen Namen gemacht hat. Während letzteres eher für seinen heftigeren Ton bekannt ist, nutzt Frank Mokros Totakeke dazu, etwas Neues auszuprobieren und neue Wege zu gehen. Dazu verbindet er allerlei Spielarten der elektronischen Musik zu einem musikalischen Wechselbalg. Seine Songs scheinen zu leben, entwickeln und bewegen sich von Minute zu Minute und verändern ihr Angesicht. So auch auf seinem neuen Album “eLekatota: The Other Side Of The Tracks”.Eben noch atmosphärischer Ambient und dann plötzlich technolastiges Gewummer. Hinzu kommen synthetische Streicher, Sprachsamples (wenn auch selten) und sogar Gitarrenpassagen. Dem Hörer fällt es schwer, in diesem sich ständig verändernden Strudel der Musik den Überblick zu behalten. Die Orientierung wird zusätzlich noch dadurch erschwert, dass die Tracks nahtlos ineinander übergehen. Was Totakeke aber schafft, ist eine durchgehende Stimmung über alle Songs, die man am ehesten als enthusiastische Melancholie bezeichnen könnte. Dieser rote Faden ist umso verwunderlicher, wenn man hört, das “eLekatota” in einem Zeitraum von knapp zwei Jahren entstanden ist.Von diesem Album muss man sich tragen lassen, sonst könnte es schwierig werden, es wirklich zu genießen. Das schöne daran ist, das dieses Album schwerlich langweilig werden kann, was andererseits aber auch verhindert, dass “eLekatota” sich im Gedächtnis verankert. Diese Reise muss man sozusagen fast immer wieder von neuem antreten.

English Translation:Totakeke is the alter ego of Frank Mokros from New York who has made his name know most of all, with his project Synth-Etik. Where his last project was more known for the strong tones, Frank Mokros now uses Totakeke to try something new as well as go some new ways. He now makes use all of the varieties in electronic music and combines those to create a completely new change in his sound . His Songs seems to have a life to them, they evolve and move from minute to minute and constantly change which you will also hear in his new album eLekatota, :The Other Side of the Tracks. First of atmospheric ambient essence and then from nowhere techno sounds. Add some synthetic Violins and voiceovers (which are rare) as well as guitar passages. The listener can find it hard to keep up with the constant changes in the music. The orientation even becomes harder with tracks that flow from one to the other without a definite break.

What Toakeke does accomplish, is a constant specific mood throughout all the songs, that one could best describe as enthusiastic melancholy. This red flag is even more surprising when you hear that “eLekatota” was created over a time period of almost two years. From this album you must be carful otherwise it could be hard to really enjoy it. The nice thing about it is, that this album really does not get boring. Yet it also means that “eLekatota” does not anchor itself with you. The trip has to be taking always from the start and anew. (Translated by Nicki Fahey)

Vibe Magazine

-Frank Mokros alias Totakeke aus New York liefert 13 Kapitel an der Schnittstelle von Industrial, Electronica und IDM. “Millenia” schmückt hervorragend stillgelegte Fabrikhallen mit industrieller Kulisse – Tanzbelange kommen dabei nicht zu kurz. Melancholisch zieht das düster konzipierte “Gift Of Nervous Methods” seine Kreise. Ohne große Umwege setzt
“Immolate” beim klassischen IDM an. Subtiles, aus verschiedenen Stilelementen zusammengesetztes Album mit hohem Reifegrad – demnach mehr etwas für den Kopf. Experimenten wurde genügend Platz eingeräumt. (4+/5 – Sven Hanke)

Elektrauma –

73 Minuten, die an einem nicht so leicht und spurlos vorbeigehen: Das ist das neue Album von Totakeke, Nummer zwei mittlerweile in der Bandgeschichte. Hinter diesem Projekt steckt der New Yorker Frank Mokros, der unter anderem durch Synth-Etik bekannt geworden ist. Als Totakeke macht der Friemelmeister hier einen besonders interessanten Spagat. Einerseits verbindet er sehr vertrackte Rhythmen mit schwebenden Synthieparts („Carrier Signal” ist da vielleicht das genialste Stück, der zeigt, was man aus Drumprogrammings alles machen kann), andererseits merkt man dem Musiker auch seine Liebe für EBM-Strukturen, das gleich im darauffolgenden Song „Pull The Plug” deutlich zu hören ist. Vor allem die Bassläufe verraten ihn. Das Besondere an „eLekatota” ist vielleicht die Leichtigkeit, mit der die im Non-Stop-Verfahren zusammengeklebten Songs zum Hörer gelangen. Da ist zwar auch sehr viel Anspruch mit dabei, aber das ganze kommt einem nicht so schwer vor. Erst gegen Ende ist man eigentlich geplättet, weil man erst im Nachhinein merkt, was für ein kompliziertes und vielschichtiges Werk Totakeke hier abgeliefert hat. Und so bleibt eigentlich einem nichts anderes übrig, als auf Repeat zu drücken und noch mal 73 Minuten seines Lebens für das Album investieren muss, um es wieder etwas zu verstehen. Ganz großes Tennis!

Aliens E-Zine –

In the past this man has bring great releases at Frozen Empire media and this time his new album presenting on great label Tympanik audio. New album is like a next block, that was already present on his old releases. Instrumental electro, that balances between idm and electro is in this case on great level. Strong beats, melodic sounds and beautiful atmospheres. Many excellent tracks from which I must mention: Pull the plug in which doesn’t miss creativity and to listener will be interesting unique changes of rhythm and moods. Real piece in this release, but the other songs won’t left unnoticed too. By the end ideas are repeating a little, but as a whole this cd sounds great and for Tympanik it means good choice in todays competition of musicians. Excellent album. Electronic complex of melodies and broken rhythms… 4/5Vminulosti tento pán zahviezdil skvelými vydaniami u Frozen Empire media a tentokrát svoj nový počin prezentuje na skvelej značke Tympanik audio. Nový album je akoby ďalší blok, ktorý už tento nadšenec načtrol vo svojich predošlých vydaniach. Inštrumentálna elektronika, ktorá balancuje medzi idm a elektro je v tomto prípade podaná na vysokej úrovni. Trieštivé beaty, melodické zvuky a krásne atmosféry. Plno vynikajúcich songov, zktorých musím spomenúť: Pull the plug ,v ktorej sa kreativitou nešetrilo a poslucháča budú baviť jednotné zmeny rytmov a nálad. Pravý kus v tomto vydaní, ale ani ostatné parádičky nezostanú nepovšimnuté. Ku koncu sa nápady trošku opakujú, ale ako celok znie toto cd dosť vyzbrojene a pre Tympanik znamená dobrú voľbu v dnešnej konkurencii hudobníkov. Podarený album. Elektronický komplex melódií a lamaných rytmov…

Gothtronic –

Totakeke is a new project from Frank Mokros, who’s perhaps more known from the industrial noise outfit Synth-etik which releases albums via the Hands label. Totakeke however is musically something different, as while there are still influences of rhythmic industrial, this second album from Totakeke also features ambient and idm influences. As such this is a nice combination that really works wonderful with acts such as Detritus or Mnemonic, yet with Totakeke the set-up is being disturbed by the enormous amount of stylistic changes, tempo changes and atmospheric changes in the tracks. Also the tracks itself last too long sometimes, such as is perfectly illustrated by ‘Gift of Nervous Methods’. This makes it hard to listen to the album in it’s entirety. This also happens with Synth-etik but the music is so loud that it is not that disturbing there, with Totakeke however it doesn’t work, although the acid part in ‘Ignorance’ is a nice idea indeed. The best tracks are the drum ‘n bass / ambient idm minded ‘Carrier Signal’ and ‘Millenia’ which has a strong rhythmic industrial and techno influence. –

Eine gelungene Symbiose – Fein!Seit einigen Jahren tummeln sich auf dem neumodischen Industrialsektor bzw. im Dark Techno Genre unzählige anspruchslose Projekte, die in meinen Augen nur Langeweile hervorrufen. Im Gegensatz dazu steht das neue Opus von Totakeke, welches Frank Mokros inziniert, der sich auch für die Arbeiten von Synth-etik verantwortlich zeigt. Der in New York ansässige Produzent eröffnet der geneigten Hörerschaft bzw. “Tänzerschaft” auf seinem zweiten Album “eLekatota” einen spannenden Mix aus Techno (Rave), TripHop, Drum And Bass, Industrial (New School), Ambient (kein Dark Ambient) und elektronischen Spielereien, der auf der einen Seiten zum Chillen einlädt, aber auch “Tanzflächenmagnete” transportiert. Das inhaltliche Konzept hinter “eLekatota” lebt nah am Puls der Zeit. Sie bekommen hier keine Aufarbeitung von zwischenmenschlichen Problemen oder sexuellen Vorlieben geboten, sondern Ausführungen über die Gesellschaft bzw. ihre Problematiken. Alle Tondokumente gleichen emotionalen “Kraftpaketen”, im Besonderen die Stücke ‘Ignorance’, ‘Power Of Ideas’ und ‘Show Me The Faith’. Alleine aus dieser Sicht ein Kleinod, welches viel Aufmerksamkeit verdient hat.In den überwiegenden Fällen ereilen uns im Dark Techno bzw. Dark Electro Releases, die vor musikalischer Einfallslosigkeit nur so triefen bzw. wimmeln – getreu dem Motto “Stumpf ist Trumpf!”. Frank Mokros zaubert auf “eLekatota” eine abwechslungsreiche Melange, die sich schnell in den Gehörgängen festsetzt. Das aktuelle Totakeke Werk glänzt durch vielschichtige Atmosphären und eine große Auswahl von Beatstrukturen, die gemeinsam sehr einprägsame Momente bescheren. Die verwendeten Sprachsamples (sehr dunkel und verzerrt) fallen nicht wirklich ins Gewicht und dienen ausschließlich zur Akzentuierung. Wer meine Rezensionen im kennt, weis, dass meine Person diesem neumodischen Kram nicht wirklich Aufmerksamkeit widmet. Hingegen “eLekatota” macht in irgendeiner Art und Weise süchtig. Der Tonakrobat verführt mit hypnotisch anmutenden Takten, die zur Entspannung von der hektischen Zeit nur so einladen. Wenn Skinny Puppy oder Frontline Assembly nach ihren besten “Jahren” diesen Weg eingeschlagen hätten, wäre meine Wenigkeit vollends zufrieden gewesen, aber im Gegensatz den vorher genannten Szenegrößen, die nur noch lieblose Massenware auf den Markt schmeißen (äh werfen), vollzieht Frank Mokros sehr genial den Schritt zwischen Old-School Elektronik (EBM, Industrial usw.) und dem aus dem Techno bzw. Rave stammenden New School. Die geschlossene Symbiose dürfte jüngere wie ältere Hörerkreise anziehen, die sich für elektronische Musik interessieren.

Frank Mokros beweißt auf “eLekatota” sehr viel kompositorisches Feingefühl, wodurch in keinem Moment Langeweile aufkommt, sondern echte Begeisterungsstürme, die auch nach dem x-ten Hördurchlauf nicht abflachen wollen.

Diejenigen unter Ihnen/ Euch, die sich bisher solchen Opera verweigerten, aber großes Interesse gegenüber dem elektronischen Crossover hegen, müssen mal eine längere Hörprobe nehmen und abschließend ihre Kaufentscheidung fällen. In meinen Augen bzw. Ohren richtig feiner “Kram”, den uns Frank Mokros auf “eLekatota” offeriert bzw. präsentiert. Ein schönes Wechselspiel zwischen Tanzbarkeit und Entspannung für die Lounge. Ohne Frage ein Highlight in Zeiten von nervigen bzw. banalen modernen Industrialveröffentlichungen, die in keiner Sekunde an “eLekatota” heranreichen können. Für Personen, die über den elektronischen Tellerrand hinüberblicken, besteht absolute Kaufpflicht.

Enochian Apocalypse

-I have been a massive fan of Totakeke from the word go, lets get that straight. This has been a highly anticipated release for me. I always preferred this project rather than his main source of accomplishment ‘Synth-etik’ routed to us via the Hands label.In a word ‘Elektatote – The Other Side of the Tracks’ is fabulous. Frank Mokros has a huge grasp of spatial awareness and always likes to situate the listener in a specific time and place. His first effort ‘At the Train Station on a Saturday Evening’ captured the very essence of those summer evenings where the air is still and the sun is low, a scene we don’t see often in today’s torrid climate with our truly miserable weather. It was pure escapism at its best. Elektatote had a lot to live up to basically.I am pleased to say that he has hit the nail bang on the head. Again. This is the perfect follow up to the debut, the journey itself to your destination after boarding the train. Thirteen tracks that seamlessly move and aid you along in your mind set whilst you take in the environment around you. The subtle folding glitches and electronics with flushes of orchestral movements and rich deep pads are strung together with a range of thumping and skittish beats. Technically it should fall apart and is always on the verge of doing so. It’s this paranoid formulation that gives it the edge above many of its contemporaries.The train has driven to halt, the doors have opened, step onto the platform and make your next move. Totakeke is there as your never ending companion.
9.5/10 – Tony Young

Braincorp –

Frank Mokros a.k.a Totakeke is probably more known for his project called Synth-Etik that has released a few CDs on the famous German label Hands Productions. Elekatota is Totateke’s second album, the first one being on the quite new label Tympanik Audio which are going to release some remarkable CDs this spring.
I remember when the first album came out from Totakeke in 2005 called “At The Train Station On A Saturday Evening”. It was a good album, but not as good as “Elekatota” where the sound have developed a lot. From just being an ordinary IDM project, Totakeke have managed to create a sound that goes much further.
“Elekakota” starts with the typical IDM tracks with a bit of breakcore influences. Already on the 3rd track “Pull The Plug” we get a pure electro tune and the album continues with a lot of great tracks like “Millenia”, “Strangle”, “Elekatota Two” – some of the songs are even club friendly.
Totakeke have created a great album with a lot of variation with both IDM and Electro tracks. Some of the Electro songs resemble some of the latest material from the English band Portion Control. Elekakota is one if the best IDM/Electro albums I have heard in a long time. Highly recommended.

Darkroom –

Produttore e musicista newyorkese, Frank Mokros con “eLekatota” ha costruito con grande gusto e tecnica strumentale un album di livello concettualmente altissimo. Arruolato il linea definitiva dalla label Tympanik Audio, dopo la recente presenza con il brano “Emerging Organism” all’interno di una compilation della stessa label americana, con questo secondo album Totakeke conferma i pareri positivi raccolti con “Lament” e con “At The Train Station On A Saturday Evening”, usciti rispettivamente nel 2003 e nel 2004 per la Frozen Empire Media. Già abbiamo speso parole d’elogio per questa nuova etichetta, attiva solo dalla seconda metà del 2007 ma già con un roster di artisti di ottimo livello, che crescono sotto la luce dell’elettronica sì estrema, ma progettualmente innovativa. “eLekatota”, pur essendo collocabile nell’IDM, ha però talmente tante sfaccettature che respira di suoni globali, complicate trame di synth le quali per tutta la durata del disco obbligano chi ascolta a distruggere regole, sintassi acustiche, per creare nuovi universi musicali, nuove concettose attese. Elettronica fredda e distaccata, non per essere solamente ballata (forse l’unico episodio vero per dancefloor è “eLekatota Two”), ma per portare la mente verso mondi che possono esistere, che l’inverosimile è forse dietro una porta non così lontana. Totakeke fa di questo disco una sorta di ‘stargate’: entrare nella porta significa assistere alla nascita di un nuovo mondo, macchine e strumenti digitali, computer che creano regole esistenziali, nuove imperturbabili leggi tutte da scrivere. “eLekatota One” e “Carrier Signal” sono la prima parte di questa new age algida: la musica esplode in complicati assiomi numerici, codici binari che si trasformano in un caos sonoro, perfetto, autodeterminato a generarsi e generare. Senza stacco tra le tracce, tutte perfettamente mixate ed amalgamate, il viaggio verso il mondo perfetto di Totakeke continua asettico e strumentale; l’unico episodio in cui una voce inumana presenzia è “Millenia”, appositamente incomunicante, fino all’eleganza stilistica di “Strangle”, glaciale e sfavillante come un cristallo. Le geometrie e i suoni si equilibrano, trovano le loro perfezioni stilistiche, e la conclusione del disco inneggia alla stabilità trovata e voluta. “The Other Side Of The Tracks” è la felice conclusione: synth e sampler esplodono in ansiose iperboli musicali, la macchina prevale sull’uomo, l’estetica sul sentimento, la ragione è sconfitta, la luce che ne esce è artificiosa, riflessa da poliedri, prevale il bianco accecante, i diamanti sui rubini, il neon sul sole. Un altro passo avanti nella musica elettronica da ascolto e riflessione, che Mokros ha cesellato in 73 minuti studiati con professionalità e competenza: i nostri complimenti alla Tympanik per credere in progetti difficili e qualitativamente raffinati. (8) – Nicola Tenani

Cyclic Defrost –

It’s been a good four years since New York-based electronic producer Frank Mokros released his debut album as Totakeke ‘At The Train Station On A Saturday Evening’ on Frozen Empire Media, but in the meantime he’s certainly been somewhat occupied with his alter ego Synth-Etik, culminating in the release of his ‘Phantom’ album under that moniker last year through German label Hands Productions. Following on the heels of recent remixes for Terrorfakt and Klangstabil, this second album ‘Elekatota’ on Chicago-based label Typanik Audio sees Mokros continuing to successfully blend seemingly disparate elements of industrial, techno, breakcore and dark ambient IDM into one cohesive whole that he himself terms ‘complex rhythmic industrial.’ It’s certainly something of an expansive offering too, running in at 13 tracks over a bulging 73 minutes. While many other similar producers would struggle however to successfully fill such a broad canvas, Mokros’ divergent explorations manage to stay consistently intriguing and inspired. Opening track ‘Elekatota One’ slowly guides proceedings in with slow fractured IDM rhythms crackling their way beneath a foreboding backdrop of phased droning textures and manic 8-bit synths that betray more than a hint of rave lurking below the surface, shortly before ‘Carrier Signal’ flexes some additional rhythmic muscle, sending volleys of breakcore dnb rhythms sliding out across a forlorn backing of ambient synth pads in an offering that beautifully maintains its overriding calm in the eye of the storm. Elsewhere, ‘Ignorance’ sees techno kickdrums rising as a steady pulse beneath dark ambient pads and tearing chunks of digitally processed noise, in a moment that sees ghostly acid 303s making an appearance towards the very end, before the spellbinding ‘Power Of Ideas’ stretches head-scrambling bursts of Squarepusher-esque drill and bass amidst a vast backdrop of wavering pads, only for things to fuse tightly back around a crisp techno kickdrum pulse and bursts of acid squelch as things power relentlessly to their conclusion. Fans of dark, industrially-tinged electronics along the lines of the Ad Noiseam and Ant-Zen labels should definitely investigate ‘Elekatota.’

Wounds Of The Earth – Totakeke is apparently a side-project of a guy who’s got “main” projects that I’ve never heard of. Anyway, this album has been dubbed “intelligent rhythmic industrial” by the label Tympanik Audio. In most cases I would be able to go into a rant about how false that description is; however much to my surprise and excitement, eLekatota actually lives up.

Packaging: 2/10
The packaging on eLekatota is pretty run of the mill boring and generic. My 13 bucks got me a nice 2 page booklet with really blurry and overly dark pictures and the standard “thanks” text.

Composition: 9/10
Luckily, the music on eLekatota completely makes up for the shoddy half-assed packaging. This was my first experience with Totakeke and as per usual, I had pretty low expectations, but I can say with complete honesty that this album blew me away. The album starts off a bit slow, with the first two tracks not really grabbing my attention but not exactly being bad either. But the album really kicks into high gear on track three, “Pull The Plug”, which is probably my favorite piece of the album. Totakeke is a master of abstract rhythm and melodies, and eLekatota is definitely worthy of the adjectives “rhythmic” and “intelligent”. The album is absolutely chock full of multi-layered beats weaving in, out, between and through myriad synthetic melodies and harmonies. The only thing that I can compare this album to is perhaps a more chilled out and electro Pneumatic Detach. While the album is indeed heavily rhythmic, it is definitely not a club album and there are very few of what I would call ‘hard, driving rhythms’. This is an infinitely more cerebral (bedroom) album than most other rhythmic noise. The album moves slowly and takes it time slowly but surely building a complex web of drums, noises, atmospheres and subtle melodies. There are also many vocal samples which sound half terrifying, but the words being spoken are usually pretty intense if you take the time to listen to that which is being said. Many of the tracks incorporate similar sounding elements, but by no means do the tracks sound the same. It seems to be that they all work in their individual ways to be a piece of a greater whole which is eLekatota. Quick summary: tons of stuff going on and tons of changes within the tracks. No boredom to be found here. If I had to provide a visual description I would say this is an upbeat soundtrack to a dystopic future city with lots of glass buildings and robots.

Production: 10/10
The production on eLekatota is damn near flawless. This is probably the first thing that hit me in the face upon putting this album on initially. The production is huge and thick, everything sounds fucking amazing and deep. The bass is super thick and phat and the beats never cease to kick. Every drum hit is placed perfectly, as is every individual noise and chunk of atmosphere. The melodies are great and perfectly placed in the mix, and the samples are always perfectly audible. It’s a bit strange to hear an album like this that uses so little distortion and contains so little noise. Some really top notch mixing and mastering.

Artistic Merit: 8/10
There is definitely much artistic merit to this album. I can say without a doubt that there is no other album out there that sounds very much like this. Although it contains semblances of electro and industrial and ambient…it is none of these, and yet perhaps equally all of them. It’s very difficult to describe this album with genres and standard adjectives. I think in many ways it clearly stands out from its contemporaries and although it’s difficult to say if this is a timeless album, it is definitely something that anyone who is into abstract electronic music should spend a few minutes checking out (and most likely those few minutes will mutate into many many more).

Flow: 9/10
eLekatota definitely contains a very fluid forward motion to it. The tracks sound similar enough that they can been seen as smaller pieces of a greater puzzle; a puzzle of a singular vision which the entire album works together to achieve. The tracks mesh well with one another and listening to the album from beginning to end is not a difficult feat to achieve. The drum beats and synths in many songs have similar sounds, but this is not to imply they sound the same. They are similar enough only to further the vision, and this keeps the album cohesive without being monotonous.

Overall Rating: 9/10
Overall, eLekatota is a pretty fucking stellar piece of work, and a huge progression from the previous Totakeke album. Anyone who is looking for something heavily rhythmic that won’t bore you to death with repetition should absolutely spend some time with this album. You will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t; I still can’t put the album back on the shelf. -dan barrett 07-06-08.

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