For four years now, Cologne's Tomlab, run by Tom Steinle, has been turning out some of the most fascinating and unconventional electronic music out there. Marked by shuffling rhythms and hollow tones, shorn of climaxes and bombast, it's miniaturized pop gone fuzzy with shrinkage. Morr Music, the German label that's achieved a fair amount of notoriety with such recent releases as B. Fleischmann and Phonem, probably wouldn't have existed without Tomlab. That's not to disparage Morr, but rather to emphasize the remarkable achievement of a little label that got its start with Visor, a CD-R with beguiling, hand-made covers, in an edition of 100 (of which only 20, if I recall properly, made it to the U.S.).
Kristian Peters' last contribution to the label was the 1998 CD Novisad, an understated collection of loops and glitches that the then-18-year-old producer sent to the label in demo form after hearing Visor. Shunning any particular fashion, Novisad was ambient music, plain and simple hovering tones in suspended animation, revolving without resolving.
Seleya offers more of the same, which some might consider a weakness it certainly lacks the novelty required to garner press in a glutted market but its simplicity remains its charm. Of the 13 tracks here, only one stretches longer than four minutes (and by a mere three seconds at that). Instead of the sprawl to which ambient music sometimes tends, Peters' typical track is more like an epic-in-a-bottle: a short, ambiguous missive dashed off, sealed up and tossed bobbing into an ocean of information, to wash up where it will. Organs grumble and hum; static hisses from afar; tape-melt and delay mask half-melodies in the anonymity of dub. It is all that it needs to be, and no more. In its restraint, it's a welcome antidote to the hubris of boom times. Lovely and long overdue.