There are two definitions of the term "minimal" when it is applied to music. Firstly there is minimal in the sense of what Eno or Stars of the Lid do; that is, music wherein the spaces between the notes is as important as the notes themselves. This is the classic definition of "ambient". However, there is another definition of minimal that involves using only the bare minimum necessary to convey your point, without unnecessary ornamentation. The entire slowcore genre is based upon this definition of minimal, with Low pretty much exemplifying the usage. Low played only what needed to be played, nothing more, nothing less. Please note that these two definitions are not contradictory, they exist in a continuum, with most bands taking a little of A and a little of B.
I say this because on Electronic Mischief, Asmodelle makes minimal electronica. This music is not always ambient, in fact i find that when she is at her best she is making music more reminiscent of early-90s trance (notice the subtle reference to Ultramarine on The Laughter of Children). However, Asmodelle does not use any more sounds than are necessary, placing her largely in column B, above. This is electronic music without ornamentation, stripped down to a skeletal level of simple beats and tight melodies. And it really works.
Asmodelle is actually the Australian actress/model/writer/DJ Estelle Asmodelle. Ms. Asmodelle is a general busybody, and i cannot speak to the rest of her varied output, but i do find her electronic music to be worthwhile.
As i said, this is very minimal techno. The beats are not throbbing rave floor stompers, instead they are subtle yet work perfectly fine for head nodding, tapping your feet, and driving the songs along. Asmodelle couples these with some light melodies and an occasional sample – maybe a short spoken phrase, the tinkling of a bell, or strange sci-fi synth tones.
Ambient Repairer is my favorite song here. In this tune, keys tinkle against a soaring whoosh of synths. This is a modern electronic homage to Vangelis, Edgar Froese, and other early synth pioneers. The song is only 3:44, which is insanely short for that style (Tangerine Dream used to do 30 minute synth opuses), but it really works. It's a nice little throwback piece. Also of interest is Da (Boom Da), which takes the synths in a more modern direction by making something that is not unlike Daft Punk. Now, this is a lot mellower than Daft Punk, but the driving synths are really similar.
Those might be the standout tracks, but there is a lot to like here. Electronic Mischief is an enjoyable collection of mellow, minimal electronica. Asmodelle is not breaking any new boundaries here, and yet her work is delightfully outside the ever changing mainstream of electronic – no fractured, stuttering, dubstep beats here! All the same, this is a rather enjoyable album. If, like me, you enjoyed the electronica of the 1990s, then Electronic Mischief is an album to check out.