Peter Thelen    23-Feb-2001 Protoplasmic

Flux is the brainchild of industrial/experimental guitarist Jim Plotkin, who is joined on Protoplasmic by lyricist/vocalist Ruth Collins. Plotkin may be better known for his collaborative efforts with Mick Harris, K.K.Null, or Michael Gira, but Flux seems to be the vehicle for his own ideas, picking up where his first outfit, Old left off. Right from the start with "Patterns of Traffic" one might detect a strong influence of eighties King Crimson: shifting frames of odd time, repeating melodic cells, strange rhythms that only a Bruford could keep track of, electronic sounds whirring and growling in the background, and over it all Collins recites her very unusual lyrics. Plotkin is credited with all instrumentation which appears to be guitars, synths, synth-bass, and percussion (probably programmed, but skillfully), as well as the dark, twisted and heavily processed vocals on tracks like "Stretched Out" and "Unknown Codes". More than anything this is music of interestingly juxtaposed repeating patterns of shifting meter, although there are plenty of ambient moments herewithin. Case in point is "Airtrap", nine minutes of spacy and industrial sonic textures overlaid with Collins' poetry, later adding more and more voice tracks until everything becomes unintelligible. Some of the other pieces like "Immanence" and "Hollow Spaces" tend to use more background vocalizing (whether real or sampled) in addition to the recitation, adding to the other-worldly effect of the endeavor. In all, this is an excellent disc that defines the word 'progressive' in the nineties and beyond. My highest recommendation.

(Originally published in Exposť #14, p. 52, Edited for Gnosis 2/11/01)

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