Fresh twists on classic dance music ideas appear across the Bassiani resident's versatile second LP.
In a review of Jikia's excellent Ostati album from last year, Joe Muggs mentioned AFX, Underground Resistance, Tin Man, Shed, Martyn, Artificial Intelligence, Basic Channel and Drexciya as possible influences. The same could be true of Rhythmic Sonatas. And similarly to Ostati, Jikia avoids the trap of straight imitation. This isn't a burning of the rule book. But the album works enough novel angles on classic ideas to give Jikia a claim to a unique artistic identity.
Rhythmic Sonatas' 51 minutes are full of subtle invention and interesting decisions. Parts are faster, slower, softer and harder than expected. Jikia twists the wet / dry knob on an effect to nine when a five might have sufficed. Three shorter tracks arrive in sequence, bucking conventional wisdom about sequencing an album. "Repeated Eye Contact," a dreamy synth piece, is 43 seconds long but still a highlight. It's preceded by "Satovlia," a crisp 158-BPM electro jam that brought to mind Drexciya's similarly snappy "Fusion Flats," and "Badskit," the unexpected meeting of a 303 and a soul sample.
The club tracks often bang hard. But that doesn't preclude Rhythmic Sonatas from being enjoyed at home or on headphones. There would be no shame in a fist-pump on the bus when the drums suddenly drop on "Eyes In The Sky" after two minutes of its massive wavy synth riff. This boldness extends into the second track, "Baked In F12 (Korg Patch Mix)," which could be a Bassiani-ready update of Cybotron's "Clear."
It's with the more tender, atmospheric cuts later on, though, that it becomes apparent Jikia has nailed a second full-length in less than a year. Skip the slightly throwaway "Noboru's Arp" and focus on "Bilateral Symmetry," "Dabalsikhshiruli Rkheva" and "Nabolara," the closer. They each overflow with the things Jikia is building a powerful reputation on: sharp contrasts, borderless influences and a knack for extracting truly affecting moods from his machines.