r s v – Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats

rsvThis album’s title, besides being something of a mouthful, describes a series of DNA sequences. Referred to by the acronym CRISPR, they live in the genomes of organisms like bacteria and archaea.

Scientists have developed the ability to use CRISPR sequences in genome-editing procedures that are revolutionizing medicine, agriculture and raising one or two bioethical questions along the way.

One stubborn disease this relatively new technology is being applied to is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It’s a highly contagious disease that triggers respiratory tract and lung infections. Adults typically experience mild symptoms but it can be a serious diagnosis for infants and children.

There’s no information in the album release materials to tie Portugal’s r s v to that virus. But the music certainly fits the bill. (Update: That acronym is actually a reference to Ricardo Silva Veloso, the artist. In a note to me on Jan. 30, he wrote: “There’s no relation with the Respiratory Syncytial Virus. The fact that CRISPR is being used to eliminate this virus from patients is just a strange coincidence.”)

This disc is unapologetically futurist. The electronics are gentle, but not ambient. You may hear it described as down-tempo, but its beats are less conventional than those we’re used to hearing in that sub-genre.

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, the album, is a confident look forward at how electronic music can progress.

In the process, r s v may well have coined a new term: “Genetronica” is the title of the album’s ninth track. Like the rest of the album, it is both slick and warmly agreeable.

Kevin Press

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