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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ars Nova - Fear and Anxiety – Here is one of those albums that I hate at one listen, and love at the next. Ars Nova is a Japanese instrumental trio of mega-keyboards, bass, and drums, playing pretty much in the tired old keyboard...  (1994) » Read more

Versailles - Le Trésor de Valliesres – It’s amazing how with opinions on bands, even one or two can sway you. This is French group Versailles' third album, and by the reports of their first album Le Cathédrale du Temps, I was warned to...  (1994) » Read more

It - Order through Chaos – It isn't really a new American group, as they've been around since the mid 80s, yet this is their first album. The band is basically a duo of Todd Freeman and Scott Munson, and they've brought...  (1995) » Read more

Alphataurus - Dietro l'Uragano – In the early 70s, there were so many great progressive bands on the Italian scene, that even some of the best were overlooked. Case in point: Alphataurus were a five-piece who released their only LP...  (1996) » Read more

Lisa Gerrard - The Mirror Pool – Lisa Gerrard is the prime mover behind 4AD trailblazers Dead Can Dance. Her sometimes spooky, sometimes playful vocals have earned her a modest following in the art-rock crowd, often evoking the...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues