Esem/Eesn

LP2: Serial Human

Esem
2003, Merck014 CD

cover design by plamen 'risc' marinov

Tracklisting

  1. tjiccli
  2. cee
  3. bleece
  4. swift urban departure from what was...
  5. sofiatram as i hear it
  6. square lamp
  7. outburst nue
  8. kyes ivrload
  9. scatterhaunted & vellin street
  10. upward instlr
  11. alipe lacks
  12. tawn

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Reviews

Esem delivers his debut for Merck, SERIAL HUMAN, a blend of IDM glitchiness and Detroit techno influences. Right from the first track, "Tjiccli," there`s a melodic sense reminiscent of the Black Dog mixed with the crisp staccato rhythms that modern IDM is known for; "Bleece," on the other hand, sets the reverb on high and lets the echoes bounce off each other. "Swift Urban Departure From What Was Once An Innocent Soul" (a long-winded title, to be sure) speeds up into breaks territory for a ride with a digital assassin, while "Sofiatram as I Hear It" is the ricketiest trolley system I've ever heard. "Square Lamp" layers its drum n bass with an instrumental ode beamed in from outer space. "Outburst Nue" and "Kyes Ivrload" both thrum with darkness and suppressed aggression. Futuristic and fabulous. scoundrel, discogs.com
Bored of a thousand chillout artists trying to do the exact same thing? Merck Records (with its long list of very talented artists) bring us a wonderful CD from Esem, the accomplished, talented and orginal act from Bulgaria, one of the rare acts that does their very own thing without going overboard with glitches and noise. Yes, I am biased in this review. Probably best defined as IDM rather than ambient, Esem showcase the darker and funkier side of chill-out, bordering DnB at moments, touches of Ozric Tentacles styled psychedelia all with superb choices of sound and a lot of imagination.
[...]
What can I say. This album is amazing. I love each and every one of the tracks here, each track having a powerful flow and a story behind it, not going all over the place, ot dabbling in excess effects and noises. Each track continues where the last one leaves off and develops in a new direction, or just an old one with a twist, giving this album a very complete feel. Pop it into your system, play, close your eyes and just listen. You won't regret it. kaz, IsraTrance, read full
Da ist er also, der Nachfolger von esems Erstling "Enveloped". Man kann nicht behaupten, dass er sich stilistisch sehr verändert hat. Seine Beats und Sounds sind immer noch komplexer und synthetischer Natur, und entwickeln nach einer gewissen Zeit des intesivierten Hörens ihre ganz eigene Dynamik. Es ist weder "Abfahr"-Musik noch eine seelenruhige Ambient-Soundfläche. Nein diese Musik fordert einen auf sich mit ihr auseinander zu setzen, aber ist nicht aufdringlich, und schon gar nicht penetrant. Für ruhige Momente bei einem Glas guten Rotwein, ist sie genau so gut geeignet, wie für eine Fahrt an einem verregneten Sonntagmorgen zum Bäcker des Vertauens in der nicht zwingend notwendig nächst gelegenen Großstadt. Womit wir zu einem weiteren Punkt dieser Musik kommen: die Urbanität. Ich kenne kaum eine Musik die das Großstadtleben in einer mit den dazu gehörigen entsprechenden Alltagssituationen (U-Bahn Geräusche, spielende Kinder auf dem Hinterhofspielplatz etc.) so versprüht, wie ebensolche auf dieser cd. Und das sagt jemand, der von der herrlichen Bergstraße kommt! Karl Spielhaupter "fatlabrat", Amazon.de
Bulgarian George Marinov follows up his debut, Enveloped, by edging into more shadowy territories. Influenced on one hand by Detroit techno and its noir-ish urban futures, and on the other by '90s ambient, Serial Human sees Esem seeking a personal voice within the somewhat impersonal world of beat-driven electronica. It pulls one way, to variable effect, toward the current trend of experimental sound design, and another, more succesfully, toward a slightly retro-fitted IDM model. The Esem sound is essentially about two things, swagger and synths, the former sharp, brittle and propulsive, the latter sometimes warm, melodic, but edged with a sawtooth resonance. [..] e|i magazine, autumn 2003
[...] More than just a logical follow-up to his first album, Serial Human shows Esem broadening his musical horizon as he ventures into more complex sonic terrains. If this album is not the most innovative record you`ll hear this year, it remains an interesting piece of work, based on early nineties electronica yet brought right up to date with the help of current technology. themilkfactory
Tanto ritmo ed atmosfera in odore idm da una delle label attualmente piu qualificate in questo settore: la Merck di Miami. 'Serial Human' e il secondo album del talento bulgaro George Marinov nei panni di Esem, un disco che sa offrire il senso esatto del viaggio, con quel piglio galattico-cibernetico che solo fuoriclasse quali Autechre riescono a tenere vivo in questo modo senza risultare asettici. Paesaggi fatti di suggestive atmosfere e architetture ritmiche frattali, con suoni veloci, precisi, scattanti e che a tratti riescono a sfiorare il limite che separa l`idm dal rumore. Incredibile. kathodik
[...] M3rck's Esem comes from Bulgaria and now London, where he constructs likeably disconnected things of sonic paranoia and future-shocked house music. Jude Law's murderous prostitute robot in A.I. would like a lot of the electronics found here. Crude clicks (`Outburst Nue`) and chimes `Bleece`) and a slow-growth of scribbling ambient tiny-beats. While Esem has played in a low, low fog of war before, this isn't as camera-shy as his work for deFocus. Serial Human puts real-world/atmospheric bits, very urban things like subways and street noise, in a lot of the right places. `Sofiatram As I Hear It` quietly mutilates sounds of travel until you can hear suggestions of crude glitch, beaten techno, Scanner LPs, and clamped-down San Francisco avant-static, and you're not even sure Esem had anything to do with it. [...] getunderground
Whereas Enveloped was a drifting, atmospheric, all encompassing and panoramically a beautiful experience, Serial Human is dramatic, severe, tense, relentless and hugely compelling. Esem's ability to stamp his mark indelibly on two such diversely themed albums is a testament to his talent and Serial Human is yet another essential Esem purchase. j.knapman, igloomag, read full
The second full-lenght album produced by the talented Esem and released by Merck. Serial Human is decidedly more up-tempo than the last album (Enveloped reviewed in 2002), drawing heavily on techno, house and especially electro without becoming generic whatsoever. The twelve tracks on Serial Human display a darker and more intense musical side of Esem and could be considered as a slight change in direction. electronic desert / resurface, read full
I was afraid that this artists will get into a different style while searching for its own sound as this usually happens now. I'm glad that my guess was wrong - Esem is travelling further through his own made track. I can't deny that it has become more strict trying to fit into present musical flows. But he isn't so strict so You can't even listen to his music. Those who like Sense melodies or heavinly dreams more should choose his debut album and those who like technical, synthetic overloads which sometimes lead to IDM Drum & bass rhtythm (like Square Lamp) will choose "Serial Human". [...] the ending of the album will please the lovers of lyrics... Three sweet as sugar tracks await You: Upward Inslr, Alipe Lacks and Tawn. They leave a lot of sunny emotions. But i have to admit that "Serail Human" is a neutral album...Only few compositions will stay in my mind, not the whole album...

I would put higher grade for "Enveloped". sutemos, source.
alright. what can we expect from somebody who calls himself 7902103M1007040BGR. somehow completely friendly tracks, somewhere in between clear arpeggios, a portrait of arovane on the studio wall, those bladerunner-strings and a general love to strict science fiction. tracks, which suddenly get the distorted bassdrums out and start to strangely break, very quickly drop into the headquarter of dark noise and finally arrive at thick, fat electro. what a trip! of course, this can only be done by somebody who calls himself like that. a very personal retirement-insurance. this guy is capable of everything. helps a lot, stuff like that. thaddi, de:bug
taking their pursuit of "severely electronified hip-hop" global, miami's merck drafts bulgaria's esem for a dark ride through a mountainous amalgam of shimmering electronics and murky splatters of broken beatdowns. unfortunately serial human isnt totally gree from the usual problems that plague idm artist albums; the good songs are truly great, while some of the others are just fine. "tjiccli" sprightly bounces along, layering more and more complexities in a blurring hall of mirrors, and sounding completely fresh, wile elsewhere, "bleece" resembles the backing track to national geographic explorer. in essence, this imperfection indeed makes esem truly human. brion paul, xlr8r
the follow up to the previous cd. this cd very much dwells in the shadows of autechre. there is alot of very, very obvious reference to autechre. however the melodic content of the previous cd carries through here, and once again the abtract percussive structures are inhabited by wonderfully sweet melodies. a very very intricate and well produced cd, this could happily sit on your cd shelf next to the ae discs. clint anderson
after his well received output on the (de)focus imprint, esem continues to bring us warm melodies and some lovely synthetic sounds on his debut lp/cd for merck. 12 wonderful tracks to choose from, all of the highest quality. shouldn't have to say too much about this really, the music sells itself. a highly recommended purchase!!! smallfish
George Marinov (Esem), que ya publico en el tristemente difunto sello Defocus su anterior Enveloped, se desmarca de muchos de los artistas del actual panorama electronico, en ocasiones desabrido, ofreciendo una brillante demostracion de musica electronica de alta calidad. Doce temas que se erigen progresivamente en una acelerada trama de bpm`s alcanzando la excelsitud emocional en momentos en los que sobrecogerse en su escucha atonita. Desde Bulgaria, la electronica sigue vivaz. masdesnowboard
[Boomkat featured new release: week beginning 07/03/2003]
Musically 'Serial Human' is not simply a sequel to his last album, instead it departs and greatly increases the quality of music via its sound - redirected towards aural grit and bit-crushed dsp crunches. Some tracks have a real Yunx styled Detroit fuel in their engine, with tracks like 'Cee' and 'Bleece' epitomising this sound best. Other tracks rock in a colder fashion, dancefloor action through a digital wasteland. Though the IDM scene has suffered from a fair amount of homogeny these last few months, labels like Merck seem to consistently pick out artists who keep the candle brightly lit. Recommended. boomkat
[...] Maybe This Is The Sound Of Cynicism Kicking Into The Circuits As The Producer Matures And Refines His Technique.[...] Another Exciting New Discovery From The Ever-Reliable Merck, From A Relatively Unknown Talent. revolution records
(reviewing "outburst(then flat)", reworked version as track 7)
Noch ein Kahvi-Track, der aber mal in eine ganz andere Richtung geht. Statt Melodie un Happyness haben hier Monotonie und Filterbank das Sagen. Der Track erinnert schon an die fortgeschrittene Gehorbildung aus dem Hause Plastikman: Minimale Verschiebungen, Beats nur als Gerust, um nicht vollig den Boden unter den Fusen zu verlieren. Nette Kopfhorer-Music. de:bug
reviewing "outburst then flat"
Basically this piece has two distinct elements: a cyclic beat against a backdrop of constantly morphing noise. The beat glues it all together and remains confident no matter what's going on around it. It's not what I would call a `driving` beat; instead it gives the impression of trying to get somewhere but not quite making it. It keeps slipping back down. It's a cool effect. And it never gets repetitive, despite the fact that it doesn't change one bit. It's a rhythm that sounds very fresh to my ears, and one I will probably never grow tired of. The morphing noise, on the other hand, defies description. You'll have to listen for yourself. It sounds sharp yet organic, harsh yet warm, and rough in a really smooth way. It's like having your brain polished with fine sandpaper. It tickles. Please, put all preconceptions aside and download this file. scene zine monthly, october 16th, 2003