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As the title may suggest, 0°C is a sonic exploration at a very bottom of human perception - the fragile line between life and death, dark and light, noise and silence. The authentic being is never to be achieved with complete and definitive perception of the universe - the limited human is just negligible drop somewhere between infinity and nonentity. There is no fulcrum for pretentious awareness and peace for one's arrogant mind - obscurity, uncertainty and hesitation are the only true man's satellites all along his lifeway. The limit of minimal 0°C is never to be overstepped, nomatter what labels might be attached at - noise, ambient of techno. This latest from Ryoji Ikeda is a departure from the driven-snow, sine tone Minimalism of last years hugely impressive +/-. There's more variety on 0°C, for a start, with the clicks and bleeps augmented by samples and a tendency for harsher sounds. Unfortunately, in this case more definitely amounts to less. The voice and violin samples, and the speeded up and treated breakbeats are of a very different conceptual bent to the purity and simplicity of the +/- material. Only a couple of tracks - "continuum" and "coda", in the ten part series "C" - get near that pared down ethos. More involving is the three part "O", the CD's terrific last piece, where Ikeda builds a percussion track around a drill sound, hiss and sine tones. Their subtle modulations are far more rewarding than the rougher noise games that preceded them. Ikeda may be making a virtue of impurity, but O°C is disappointingly diffuse. [Will Montgomery]