Albert takes the pulse wayyy down to ride the wave of excellent sonic explorations via this most expressive of LPs.
It's always pleasant to chart journeys of producers who always look to something new, something that furthers their sound, something that enables them to better understand their outputs. This never occurs over night, and many stumble within their own building blocks. They concieve ideas but they fizzle out, they create soundscapes with little in, and we wonder what might have been. but some just seem to grasp at the very essence of their sound, their control over the emotive and technical side of the highest order. The dips and troughs through explorations and experimentations have created discographies through the years due to their ability to make every song add just a little, or perhaps a lot, to an artist's cannon. Their clear unbounded enthusiasm for sounds, feels and grooves resonate from each release, a need to absorb our joy we feel in order to grow and grow again.
J Albert has certainly delved into many a deep trip over his career. What began with releases aimed towards the house heads and the techno chin strokers, such as 'Emergency Cosmetics', 'Vertigo Contracto', 'Untitled', 'Strictly J', and his excellent release with Person of Interest, 'ERD002', has now fully blossomed into something else entirely for Mr Albert. Even with these early releases, where he balanced evocative tones and hazy elusive textures with excellent drum programming, there was always something a bit different about his tracks that built up his reputation within the electronic community. A sense of something different, out there, elements thrown in for everyone to wonder at, or it may have been the dynamism of each EP, a sense that anything could happen. That sort of feeling is hard to craft within dance music, and only comes from producers with a vision that knows no bounds. Albert appears as someone who firmly appreciates the music of old, and always looks to the genres of dub techno and sophisticated 90s house as a guiding light. Even when applying a more low fi aesthetic, his work feels fresh, invigorating and inspiring. Now, what has morphed from this series of excellent releases is something more daring than ever before. 'Wake Me Up' came out last year, and consists of dark and dubby breakbeat and dubstep numbers that will illuminate clubs deep in the night. It showed a more cleaner style of production, where the haze is lifted and clarity ensures we feel every single last dollop of workout goodness. Alongside this, releases such as 'A.D' from 2018, and 'wen u psychic' and 'RITATBR' from last year have confirmed Albert's continual quest for the essence of crafting powerful, blended dance music. And now we arrive at this, his latest release. A series of late night scenes that send shivers up your spine, its like living in a surrealist painting of an urban centre. Constantly shifting between forms, never letting up, it sets the tone right for something truly unique and special as an audial experience. A rave that fizzled out just got a whole lot more interesting lets take a dip!
Up first comes 'Box Music', and this one sets the parameters early on. Chugging synths work around a distant beat, an energy hard to put your finger on. The chirping note just adds to the machine driven vibe, its feeling permeating from its core, its innards opening itself up to us. Smoke dips and dives from this mysterious musical being, and we only ready ourselves for what might come next. 'a future' comes next, as Albert retains the pulse but brings in the emotive familiarity of his works. A chord line keeps up the pace, as assembly line robotic melodies work around and above it. We walk along the melody, as it fights to retain its place in the world, metallic beings coming from all angles to take its place. We divert from the path on numerous occasions, as objects of sound present themselves to us, inviting us to marvel at their eccentric brilliance. This just keeps on moving forward, a light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel remains so much more interesting. For 'crash', he keeps the fire burning with the pads, only turning it up a notch. More familiar structures become apparent here, a series of deep deep synths intertwined with bleeps and blorps, alongside deep chuggy bass notes. These elements again seem to replace a beat, creating a sporadicalness that only occurs when the beat is removed entirely. The tonal elements grow and shrink in a split second, adding these moments where the music literally jumps out of you. The motions and movement that come from this track are off the chain, the manner of arrangement making it so that every note and sequence feels alive. The city at night, the warm feeling inside you, the heat wearing off. The flickering lights. Its just crafted so beautifully, you simply cannot take your eyes off of it. '000sj' comes next, and the sonic comes full circle on this one. A full 12 minute epic, the layering, the grandeur of it all, adds up to something that enriches the soul. The crashing of the synths feels almost like waves lapping at your feet, the sunrise indicating the beginning of new things. A song to truly get lost within, as places we didn't know existed revealed themselves to us. Pure bliss, if it ever existed.
'amygdala' comes next. What began with mutant dance ambitions has now arrived into the territories of emotional ecstasy. Journeys along the chord sequences take us round and around, their looping nature meaning we get to grasp onto our reactions for as long as possible. Diving synth lines interlaced with beatless grooves, it descends as much as it ascends. The break down half way through allows respite, but the energy means that things must move forward. It's the sort of loop one could easily remain in for days, a loop of such delicate touch and sublime feels, that this will be forever the whirlwind we embrace for the rest of our lives. Next comes 'bloodpressure', that takes the LP to some strange new places. Sparse, gaunt, and dark, this track throws everything out the window and replaces it with, well, very little. We focus on the engineered tones, the eeriness that greets us when we are surrounded but wish to be alone. The spaces left remain a subscape crafted from the sounds between notes and chords, areas that are inhabited by the sounds we hear daily but don't bother to register. This experience remains very powerful as a result, pieced together via a mind willing to challenge as much as to connect with. 'open' comes next, and begins with some good old chords. Piano lines blended with pads are joined by a fully bodied chord line, that then grows and introduces us to all its friends. By 2 minutes in the entrancement is complete, we have given ourselves over completely. What mesmerising beauty this is, a delicate selection of sounds that nurse us back to health through these challenging winter months. To finish up, we have 'Interpretive dance'. A series of keys come in and out of the light, a singular chord taking the lead on this as other chords move in and around. The levels move the sequence up and down, floating on the winds, light as a feather. The deepness comes into play, I don't know how this guy creates such rhythm and motion without beats but god damn. The pulse of this track is off the chain. The moments between the keys are the focus, bringing us, for the final time, into a state of bliss that could last a life time.
Jesus. Talk about feels. Albert here reaches levels of tonal expressionism that others can only dream of. His musicality remains strong throughout, but its the broken up nature of this album that really gives its power. The moves and flows between sparseness to fullness, the move from the blended to the composed, the crafted atmosphere to the crafted atmosphere. Every track here displays an identity forged in sonicness, where textures and colours come together to create living, breathing stories and pictures. The vividness will linger long into the night, due to the absolute endless breath taking nature of this album. Take a bow.
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