The exhibition gives its name to two exquisitely moody tracks on Lieske's new album as Carsten Jost. "Platoon RLX" is an elegant drum track over which string chords and snippets of sampled speech set off sumptuous ripples of melancholy. "Platoon RLX II" echoes the skewed baroque harmonies of early Plaid, tugging at a dense web of emotions—yearning, sadness, paranoia—that takes several listens to unpick.
Like his art, Lieske's music deals in autobiography. ("Love," a 2007 track that reappears on this album, was made "in a very unhappy time. When I was really confused about love or what it might, could or should be.") But, as with Platoon (RL-X), Lieske's tracks don't give up these insights without a fight. Perishable Tactics—his first album since 2001—riffs on the exhibition's theme, from its war-jargon titles to the crouched, rifle-bearing figure on the cover. The music can be equally unwelcoming.
The album opens with an "Intro" from Lieske's band Misanthrope CA, whose solemn, droning dissonance prepares us for the worst. The following track, "Ambush," is overlaid with the muffled sound of thunder—Lieske's broad sonic panoramas often hint at a distant menace. From there, the music's subtler emotional shades become more visible. "Atlantis II" and the title track, one segueing neatly into the other, are heart-melting cascades of keys and strings. "Army Green" echoes STL in its funky, sultry dissonance—as if Lieske hit all the wrong notes on the keyboard while making a Detroit house track.
None of this is any great surprise. Lieske's style hasn’t changed all that much since he cofounded Dial more than 15 years ago, and Perishable Tactics doesn't sound like the product of years of studio toil. But there's still something unresolved in his music—some internal terrain we've yet to conquer, and whose inaccessibility makes it all the more intriguing. Lieske seems to find catharsis on the album's penultimate track, "Dawn Patrol," which lacks his usual melancholy shadow. But a sombre "Outro," from Misanthrope CA, complicates things again.