dataplex is the much-anticipated new release from leading Japanese electronic composer Ryoji Ikeda. Since the mid 1990s, Ikeda has pioneered a radical and highly influential minimalist approach in the worlds of electronic and contemporary music. His seventh solo album and the first musical composition in the datamatics series - a new body of work across various media that uses data as both its material and its theme - dataplex presents a significant and stunning progression in Ikeda's career.
Aside from demonstrating Ikeda's unrivalled standards of technical precision, minute sound construction and engineering, the album also introduces an extraordinary and fascinating overall structure.
The first eight tracks of dataplex consist mostly of high-frequency raw data. Their structures are located clearly outside the cosmos of music. Instead, these linear tracks seem to be source code transformed into an audible medium; a constant stream of data, they represent the basic material of the album.
The following pieces become longer, increasingly complex and distinctly inter-related, before the rhythmic structure itself metamorphoses. Rhythms and tones are refracted progressively, until, with track 18, data.vortex, Ikeda opens up an apparently infinite acoustic space with an expansive piece that contrasts dramatically with all that precedes it.
And following this caesura the album almost ends in the way it started , sinking back into the data flow.
Through meticulous attention to detail and the most minimal of gestures, Ikeda succeeds in expanding and enhancing his sound design to reveal a new universe to the listener. dataplex opens up avenues of pure musical abstraction whilst simultaneously embracing complex, unique and elegant individual composition.
In its entirety, dataplex remains inscrutable; a mystery whose secrets require individual investigation and discovery. Its defiance of appropriate definition, description or comparison, ultimately underpins the pioneering nature of this long-awaited release.