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

2020-02-18
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

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Napoli Centrale - Napoli Centrale – In the vein of bands like Perigeo, Agora, Duello Madre, and Dedalus; Napoli Centrale are an Italian jazz rock outfit playing music quite different from their symphonic contemporaries. They're a...  (1996) » Read more

La STPO - Tranches de Temps Jeté – There’s just something about the sound of a marimba. No matter how much it sticks to minor keys, no matter how it tries to be dissonant, it ends up sounding cheerful. I don’t know if...  (2007) » Read more

Bobby Previte - The Coalition of the Willing – Powerhouse drummer Bobby Previte picks up his songwriting pen again for his new all-star combo album. Tagging along again is close friend Charlie Hunter, coerced into playing Telecaster leads on this...  (2007) » Read more

Fläsket Brinner - Fläsket Brinner – This Swedish instrumental five-piece features organ, sax, drums, bass and guitar, and delivers a solid jam based groove with a slight jazz-rock influence, all in a live setting. The bottom end is...  (1999) » Read more

Gong - You Remixed & Hawkwind - Future Reconstructions – It's a prog chill-out! Phew! I made it. The disc is over! God be praised! What we have here is a techno / ambient version of Gong's masterpiece, You. 16 different "bands" have used...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues