Rare these days is the glitch album that doesn’t ultimately disappoint. Like “dubstep,” the term “glitch” has been yanked from its utility and, a victim of its relative success, turned into a label attached to music by companies and musicians eager for the association, though not for the ingenuity necessary to really earn the rubric. In the case of “glitch,” it means music that explores the beauty in failure (and, arguably, the failure of beauty). Often as not, a glitchy opening to a song reveals, eventually, a cursory appreciation for the actual pleasures of the risk inherent in the undertaking. The glitchy effects move to background from foreground, and more immediately melodic and rhythmic elements supplant them.
And then you get a nice surprise: Precocious Mouse‘s 23/.dll (grey circuits) (from the netlabel brusionetlabel.altervista.org) knows exactly what it’s up to, and over the course of nine tracks explores the rarefied, splintering spaces of glitch with precision, affection, and no small amount of patience, for constructing some of these tracks may have required the kind of effort that goes into making a ship in a bottle. “Phasecycle,” for example, plays glitch against drone, a flittery pattern in pixel-wide beats versus a worrisome hum (MP3). And “dll11alpha_e” is even more remote, like the dying gasps of a satellite circuit recorded for its loved one back in the recesses of ground control’s freezer unit (MP3).
The “dll” in the album title (and various track names) appears to be a reference to those countless infinitesimal system files that dirty up Windows installations. Oval, one of glitch’s true originators, may have dispensed with the genre’s aural trappings on his recent works, but Precious Mouse shows there’s still life in the particulate.