Renick Bell often performs his compositions at what are called algoraves, a collision of live coding and rave music in physical space, and has also performed at a Linux Audiio conference and a host of technology, cognition and art events. To date, the music he has released has largely been comprised of the Fractal Beats series, a series of beats composed algorithmically that often resemble footwork, hardcore and the prickliest of Detroit techno. Despite the somewhat didactic underpinnings of Renick’s work, the Tokyo-based producer/coder’s sonic output does have an immediately gratifying edge to it, hence the rave component of the algorave setting. In his mix compositions, both for live settings and art-technology hubs like aqnb and JG Biberkopf’s Unthinkable series on NTS and the O FLUXO mix series, tracks from artists like Toxe, DJ Nervoso, Sentinel and x/o, along with a host of artists from the Quantum Natives camp, repeatedly show up in track lists and instead of being awkwardly shoehorned in with Bell’s own idiosyncratic creations, they are actually situated comfortable among his own coded works.
While the credentials set out above might make one think that Renick’s Fractal Beats might be more fit for coding conferences than any sort of more linear dance/electronic music event, his forthcoming releases might make one think differently. Along with an album for Quantum Natives, Bell will be releasing on Lee Gamble’s UIQ, Rabit’s Halcyon Veil and London’s Beatgatherers set in the near future, a departure from the more than slightly indecipherable (from our position at least) world of live coding, algoraves and academic papers on live coding and pragmatic aesthetic theory. In the context of those release, the inclusion of the aforementioned artists becomes clearer and with tracks from T-EA, Ling, City and Zuli in his Astral Plane mix, it’s clear that his output, while not for everyone, can and should be contextualized in a wider field of electronic and club music artists. And from the position of a technology/coding layman, Bell’s music has an immediacy that extends beyond its compositional inception, a basis in rave culture that, despite how broken the Fractal Beats series may come off, manifests itself in subtly undeniable grooves that are weaved throughout his tracks and mix work.