The sense of craft on Max Bondi’s Convolution is impeccable. Sure, the drones of perfectionist electronics are fully-realized, but even the hand-crafted packaging of this CD feels like a labor of love. It’s been quite some time since it felt really good to hold a CD like this. Meticulous shapes gorgeously screen-printed on a hand-sewn, gatefold cardboard case. Bondi’s execution of this edition leaves nothing for want.
Musically, Convolution soars alongside synthesizer/electronics wizards Ryoji Ikeda, Keith Fullterton Whitman, and Jeff Witscher. Like the others, Bondi is intent on pushing the boundaries of electronic music with a dark edge. Some of the pieces are alluringly stark portraits of glacial drift, such as opening track “Kernel.” The song buzzes out the vaguest of melodies while patterns shift slightly out of focus, almost like one of Whitman’s recent generator patches played at half-speed. “Catoptrics” and “Ori” continue to map this shapeless void by retreating even deeper into the black.
Bondi careens into “poppy,” academic electronics with “Overcoding.” The looped patch quickens its pace as it cycles through at a steady clip. A ghost in the machine hiccups periodic missteps, making its path impossible to follow. “Faltung,” “Mach-Zehnder,” and “Chiral” create a comprehensive suite of cyclical patterns with remarkable bass, bookending one of the best synth-based albums of 2012.