These six tracks by Melbourne musical urchin Synaecide are a grimy compound of electro and, I'm sorry to have to use this term in the presence of women and children, IDM. They're also louder than a drag artists' karaoke night. Not knowing whether Synaecide sports an outrageous afro, I can't say if he follows Phil Spector in all things - but his production values mimic the incarcerated producer's famed "wall of sound". Your ears will fill with as much gritty electronica as they can take. This would quickly become tiresome were it not for the fact that the music is dynamic; there are breathers, changes of tempo and most welcome changes of volume, thus ensuring that Scientifica remains engaging.
First off, there's some delicious sampling work in Venom (feat. Anamé), where a cigarette lighter never sounded so good. The whispered vocals seem a little low in the mix until Anamé opens her lungs and the track soars, backed by chilly background vocals and synths that might as well have been replaced by a recording of barrage fire.
Stuttering and bit-crushed vocals feature heavily in The World Is High, a serving of gritty IDM that, like a few of Synaecide's compositions (see the reviewed remix of Halogen's Length and Brecht) doesn't really hit its stride until the track's midpoint. But it's worth the wait.
Dissolve (feat. Dima Shafro) gets through a few distorted, angsty vocals before dropping a rather catchy electro riff. It doesn't do much else, but it's almost a relief to find a relatively straightforward electro track slipped in between the chaos that surrounds it. After testing it to destruction in CTW's Sound Pound (you don't want to know), I've come to the conclusion that the amount of enjoyment derived from Dissolve, and specifically its layered high/low synth riff, depends on the volume at which it's played. Try going to 11.
Today's recommended track is The Penny Drops, in which Synaecide, thanks to more sampling cleverness, literally spends drops a penny like it's going out of fashion. Electronica fans will enjoy the coinage abuse and go on to appreciate the growling, juddering yet jaunty electro bass, a tangled lead riff that would feel at home in the soundtrack of a filmed Philip K. Dick novel and the eventual appearance of a call-and-response riff - another characteristic but pleasurable compositional motif of Syn's. File under "Gifted". Right - deep breath - it's SoundCloud player time:
The rapid-fire chiptune arpeggios that mark the start of Close Bracket (feat. Apache) soon team up with glitchy percussion, yet both quail when faced with an epic electro-sort-of-trance wall of sound, and a clever-clever vocal that just about holds its own with the electronic fireworks. It's energy on a stick.
The title track delivers yet more electronica impressiveness: drums that splatter all over the place, a (Great) wall (of China) of synths, high strings and a gnarly bass, which, taken together, will result in complaints about poor sportmanship in World Cup qualifiers ringing in the ears.
It seems that Synaecide, curse him, is blessed with the ability to churn out memorable music that walks the fine line between "bloody noisy" and "invigorating". Want further proof? Try his Scientifica II, an estimable track from the equally estimable Continuum, a compilation of brain-spankingly ambitious IDM from, er, the IDMf netlabel. (Continuum deserves a much, much longer review but I'm kicking it out of bed because I need some sleep. Don't look at me like that - taxis don't come cheap.) Suffice it to say that the IDMf crew and members, to drop into London vernacular for a moment, are having it large.
For those of you who require sparkly things to attract your attention, please see below. Ooh, shiny.
My thanks to all at IDMf for the consistently entertaining releases. I'm sure they'd have to lie down in a darkened room if anyone from Teh Internets were to send them a "thank you" email. By the way, does anyone else think the term IDM would be more palatable if it were pronounced "iddum"? No? How very dare you. Mark my words, you'll all be sorry.