Vektordrum – Geese
Continuing our exploration of the pre-Vektroid albums by Ramona Xavier is Geese, released as a part of the Vektordrum project in 2009 “when [she] was 16”.1 It was reissued toward the end of 2016 along with other early albums such as the Hello Skypedals series and Capitose Windowpane. It’s also the maximum length of an album that can fit on a compact disc, nearly surpassing seventy-nine minutes in total runtime.
As with the other Vektordrum releases, Geese bridges the straightforward IDM of Vectorfray and the retraux aesthetic of Vektroid. Whereas Vectorfray albums such as Pentbüt were deeply indebted to the headspace rave music of Autechre and μ-Ziq, Geese flirts with ambient textures and synth-based progressions. Several tracks on Geese feature samples from public broadcasting, documentaries, and public service announcements, giving the album the feel of a space-age planetarium exposition. Other samples include rushing water, raindrops, and wind sounds.
Geese also features some of Xavier’s longest tracks to date. “Mezzanine”,2 “Talec”, and “One Leaf”3 hit or overtake the eleven-minute mark, with “One Leaf” stretching over twenty-one minutes. These tracks are generally the stronger ones on Geese, as they allow Xavier the room to jam the hell out on the drum machines and keyboards. This leads to some excellent moments of virtuosity that are disguised in the simple production of Vektroid albums such as New Dreams Ltd. and the much-discussed FLORAL SHOPPE.
Geese is a bit less structured compared to the Hello Skypedals series, often to its strength. The latter features several extended ambient passages that were pretty but not all that engaging. By contrast, the harder beats that dominate Geese precipitate the ambient decrescendos, so these instrumentally modern passages provide a breath of air as opposed to disengagement. Most notably, the long closer “One Leaf” sounds less like album padding as “Collonade Supernova” from Hello Skypedals EP1 and more like a peaceful coda to a day’s length of rainstorm. This technique is similar to that employed by Boards of Canada on albums such as Music Has the Right to Children and In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country.
This album has the same problem of the other Vektordrum releases in that it occasionally betrays the youth of its composer. “Mezzanine” loses focus and “Contra” is too similar to “District”. The most glaring issue is what may be called the “Owl City problem”: sometimes, a track is smothered by how much is going on at once. This is generally a fault of the percussion, which dips a bit too far into the Vectorfray IDM territory that, while danceable, doesn’t work in context of the ambient glitch/techno music of Geese.
These issues aside, Geese might be a worthwhile listen for those interested in Vektroid’s deep cuts and ambient IDM music. Play it loud from a stereo set and let it fill the room, as headphones don’t do this justice.
1. District – (8:44)
2. Contra – (9:16)
3. Mezzanine – (13:47)
4. Talec – (10:59)
5. Infinit – (8:24)
6. Geese – (7:36)
7. One Leaf – (21:10)
1Source is the Geese bandcamp link above.
2Massive Attack reference?
3The leaf motif pops up in several of the early Xavier albums.