Harsh Industrial & Playful Electronic
auralgamiSOUNDS – February 3, 2017
ATOMO’s The Evaporated Life is an EP I find myself going back to fairly often – it’s great driving music, work music, or accompaniment-to-just-about-anything music. That release was described as relentlessly optimistic (a fitting description, I think).
Here, ATOMO is paired with another Louisville electronic musician, TonyRobot, whose music is stark contrast to the bubbly beats I had heard before. TonyRobot’s music is in your face, washed in pulsing, distorted synthesizers – even when the synths die down, the beat pounds on in the foreground. On “Doom Stick” the music seems to phase in and out of itself, disorienting the listener and making it difficult to find the top of a phrase. “Death Adder” is my favorite of TonyRobot’s three tracks on the EP – a plodding beat grows until it busts into an echoey wash of moody electronic sounds that would fit perfectly as film music.
ATOMO’s first of three tracks, “When I Met Her Dog,” starts with a palette cleansing chunk of pop organ with no beat before it leaps into a fast-paced, nearly silly tune set around pentatonic tones. ATOMO’s second track is the longest of the EP, a multi-part song called “Tangata Manu: Go Shave Your Head/Sharkbait/Vertigo.” The track is constantly morphing into the next section of the song, interjected with quick spurts of contrasting ideas – the final section is a spacey bit of music and features vocal notes from auralgamiSOUNDS label-mate, Cher Von.
YAWNKILLERS is a quick release with lots of good momentum – TonyRobot and ATOMO play great contrast to each other’s distinct brand of electronic music, and the EP is a fresh, energetic listen from the beginning to the end.
Tracks I Liked: Doom Stick!, Death Adder!!!, When I Met Her Dog!!!, Tangata Manu: Go Shave Your Head/Sharkbait/Vertigo!
Ben Southworth – High Street – March 12, 2017
New Wave(y) Art Rock
auralgamiSOUDS – August 27, 2016
It is really difficult to pin down the sound on this album. If David Byrne and James Murphy made a record together, recruited Colin Greenwood to play bass, and fleshed out the texture with keyboards and saxophone, it might sound something like this (maybe?). The first four songs on Silent Screen assail your ears with unrelenting momentum and sound – crunchy basslines, bright guitars, bongos, accelerating breakbeats, and vocals sometimes past the point of shouting. “Boy to Do” exemplifies this perfectly – it’s armed with an opening guitar riff that will undoubtedly get stuck in your head, and a bass that sounds like its powered by a diesel engine. By the time the album reaches its midpoint, your ears are ready for a bit of relief, and “Crystal Girl” provides exactly that. The song pumps along with a a quiet electronic beat, warbling guitar, and much calmer vocals that stretch themselves into beautiful falsetto, singing much more tender lines like “she danced right through my mind tonight” and “crystal girl, wont you dance a while with me.” The single, “Photograph,” follows directly after – a song that starts mellow and relatively quiet before growing into an angular, dense, psychedelic track drenched with saxophone. “Stutterstep” is dizzying in its combination of syncopated guitar and swirling synthesizers, and has one of the best grooves of the entire album by the time it reaches the chorus. The album ends with the grandiose, smoky slow-jam, “Babydoll,” complete with weighty drums and vocal harmonies as the chorus sings “you’re not my babydoll.” At just over a half-hour, Silent Screen is over before you even know it, but it manages to be absolutely unique and interesting from the very beginning – absolutely worth at least a few listens.
Tracks I Liked: Trouble!, Boy to Do!!, Crystal Girl!!!, Photograph!!, Stutterstep!!, Babydoll!
Ben Southworth – September 18, 2016 – Kenwick Place