Exposé Online banner

Larry Kucharz — Unit IA42
(International Audiochrome IA42, 2011, CD)

by Paul Hightower, 2013-09-27:

Unit IA42 Cover art New York musician and composer Larry Kucharz’s latest CD continues the artist’s embrace of modern trends in the worlds of electronic music, including dance, techno, dub and chill. When wedded to his core competency in ambient minimalism one gets a brand of EM that packs a nice musical punch without leaving your ears ringing. And Kucharz’s interest in the avant garde means his music is often lodged somewhere between the rational and the intuitive areas of your brain. The 11 tracks fall into two categories: either rhythmic and kinetic, or ambient and subdued. These are hugely simplistic descriptors, but they do work. A conceptual shroud surrounds the first four tracks, titled “Life,” “Love,” “Binary Birth,” and “Binary Funeral,” and collectively packaged as the Binary Suite. Behind the subdued percussion, chill atmospherics and textural subtleties, Kucharz weaves sonic devices to evoke the respective themes. On the more energetic side of the ledger are tracks like “Quirky Trance” and “Do It” that feature skittering hi-hat, metronomic beats, and over-caffeinated synth pulses. For my money the ambient and techno-chill pieces are the most successful, even though the more lively tracks are the ones most likely to provide Kucharz with some commercial attention and payback. I think Kucharz is long overdue for some success, both in terms of media recognition (though I sure wouldn’t want to have to please the reviewers for the New York Times) and commercial success. Hopefully this is the sort of thing that will deliver it.

by Jon Davis, 2013-07-19:

Unit IA42 occupies a region of electronic music in between some of the more common streams. Much too active for typical ambient, it features percussive parts on most tracks, generally the kind of trebly clicks and hisses that remind me of a tiny rodent playing a mouse-sized drum kit. The lack of a thumping bottom end disqualifies it for dance music (except possibly of an academic variety, modern ballet rather than dance club). But it's also not richly arranged enough to qualify as full-blown electronic symphony of the sort pioneered by Synergy albums back in the 70s. The mouse drummer is backing slow washes of string-like tones for the most part, with medium-tempo marimba tones on some tracks, spotty organ-like chords on others, and sometimes blippy synth sounds. And what are the washes backing? Generally nothing. There are no melodies, which for me pushes this out of the realm of music for active listening into something more like Eno's original ambient music. As the set progresses, the energy level ramps up a bit, flirting with dancefloor rhythms, but remains in the nether zone without committing to asking you to dance. Pleasant enough background music for doing other things, maybe reading a novel about robots or reorganizing the CD shelf. Maybe I should say reorganizing your digital files to get with the technological theme. But sit still and just pay attention to it? I don't think so. I've listened to it at least a half dozen times, and I am not hearing anything new that wasn't apparent on the first or second play.

Filed under: New releases , 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Larry Kucharz

More info

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Torn / Mick Karn / Terry Bozzio - Polytown – David Torn (guitars, effects), Mick Karn (fretless bass) and Terry Bozzio (drums, percussion) have all been around the block, and this unlikely trio have released one of the years most interesting and...  (1994) » Read more

Art Rock Circus - A Passage to Clear & Tell a Vision – Easy to follow narratives within the comfortable confines of a pop progressive melodic framework. Nods to epic classic rock arise here and there. In some places you can hear traces of Genesis,...  (2006) » Read more

Už Jsme Doma - Nemilovaný Svět – The first I'd ever heard of this Czechoslovakian sextet was a tape someone sent to me last year of their first (1990) album Uprostřed Slov. I was suitably impressed with their twisted concoction of...  (1994) » Read more

Divided Sky - Spectral – Divided Sky is a Philadelphia based four piece progressive act that relies on heavy riffs that don’t quite fit into technical metal categorization. Phased guitar effects on “Grasp”...  (2003) » Read more

Mike Keneally - Scambot 1 – This is the first installment in a three-volume cycle, about a guy named Scambot, his cat Chee and the evil Boleous T. Ophunji (among many others). Mike Keneally is a triple threat as a musician,...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues