In the past couple years New York's Frank Mokros has certainly hit an enviable stride having released a critically acclaimed full length early in 2008, following it up with a brilliant remix album later that same year. Just over six moths have passed and already there's another new album, this time accompanied by a remix CD. The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes is a more-than-reasonably-priced two disc set - selling for less than you might buy a standard forty minute album at your local independent retailer - with over two hours and twenty minutes of amazing music that will command your rapt attention due to the sheer volume and complexity of the material.
You're probably thinking, "Well, big deal. So some dude quickly passes off another set and then has his friends rework the material to pad another disc?" Not exactly. The remix disc features three remixes done by Mokros himself and three more original tracks alongside mixes by notables such as Autoclav1.1, Pneumatic Detach, Lucidstatic and Flint Glass. What's most interesting is how well the source material lends itself to another creative mind's reinterpretation. If you're familiar with these invited artists you don't have to look at the case to figure out who's covering which song. The personalized stamp is clearly evident while the original music provides an important grounding which serves to elegantly tether each guest musician.
As for the first disc, the title track certainly sums up Totakeke's strengths well; rising and falling synth strains, gorgeous tones, subtly fluctuating pads and song evolution that holds a listener's attention even as the tracks stretch to the six minute mark and beyond. "The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes" is one of the more straightforward numbers offered in this collection but its shimmering beauty and hypnotic pulse are mesmerizing. If '08's eLekatota: The Other Side Of The Tracks seemed to embrace the sound experimentation of classic Future Sound Of London this time out Mokros has mastered the cocksure twiddling of The Orb impressively well. While not quite as easily translatable to the dancefloor as that seminal act's output this is music that will expand your mind as it compels you to move your body.
"Lost And Following" has a throbbing, downtempo cadence contrasted by bright electronics which hover peripherally over the top. As time goes on the lengthy track advances in an incredibly intriguing fashion, becoming a wildly varied piece featuring a constant theme that is continuously altered to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, particularly through the use of some scissoring distortion that might, for long time fans, call to mind the more obvious work of Mokros' Synth-Etik project. The ghost of Skinny Puppy haunts the opening moments of "Permanent Note" yet the way this song is rendered it comes across as sleeker and in posession of a surprising amount of depth. Manipulating sounds that make it seem as though a digital wind is tearing apart the noise only to have it reconfigure moments later takes patience, practice and precision - all of which Mokros displays handily with this effort.
As the CD ebbs onward an ominous mood takes hold. "Patient HM" illuminates a dark and vast void full of exploratory wonder and the potential for danger with every unpredictable piano tone, becoming more tense and insistent as it drives forward. "Memoria" has a fluttering, glitchy ambiance which gives way to a compelling rhythm and memorable theme. The broken beats and gorgeous synth play of "Where I Belong" speak to a growing number of fans who enjoy being led through these unpredictable soundscapes, caterwauling into atmospheres attached to sublime beats and a fresh attitude for which Industrial music has been clamoring for quite some time now.
Club kids might not "get it" but long time electronic fans and admirers of the more experimental sides of Industrial will find plenty to latch onto with this impressive set. The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes represents another solid winner for Mokros as well as for Tympanik Audio. And the Totakeke project certainly seems to have influenced his Synth-Etik output as well, judging from February's Waiting For The Rapture release. More composer than songwriter at this point anything with the man's name attached should elicit attention.
See also: Review: Forgotten On The Other Side Of The Tracks